Back-Up and Recover your MetaMask Wallet

AshTech Labs on 2021-08-22

Similar to others in the crypto-verse, I check my portfolio religiously throughout the day. My crypto apps are the most frequently used apps on my phone. Recently I attempted to sign on to MetaMask and to my dismay, I was greeted with this alarming error message:

Unable to log on to MetaMask

Of course, I silently panicked as I thought about thousands of dollars and multiple BSC tokens gone and more than likely unrecoverable. Unfortunately, technical issues is one of the risks associated with investing in DeFi. There are high chances of bugs, performance issues, scalability issues, and security vulnerabilities that could lead to investments being lost due to the technology being in its early stages. Fortunately for anyone that encounters this specific error, there is a way to recover your funds but it requires you to have a copy of your wallet’s Secret Recovery Phase as mentioned in the error message.

Background

In short, MetaMask is an interface that interacts with a blockchain and serves as a hot wallet for storing digital assets. Since MetaMask doesn’t require nor store a user’s personal information (name, address, bank info, phone numbers, etc), your Secret Recovery Phrase is the only proof-of-ownership linking you to the tokens in your MetaMask wallet. As a MetaMask user, it is important that you secure your MetaMask wallet using a Secret Recovery Phrase. A Secret Recovery Phrase can be thought of as a digital master key to your MetaMask wallet and can be used as a backup to recover your wallet in the event you lose access.

The Secret Recovery Phrase can be useful in cases where you’ve lost a device hosting your MetaMask wallet or you want to move your wallet to another device, or you’ve forgotten your MetaMask wallet log in password, or you’ve encountered access issues with your local MetaMask wallet. It is important to note that MetaMask users should store their Secret Recovery Phrase in a safe and private location to prevent an unauthorized user from accessing your funds. If someone gains access to your Secret Recovery Phrase, they will have access to your wallet since it’s the only proof-of-ownership.

For more information see: MetaMask Secret Recovery Phrase

In addition to saving your Secret Recovery Phrase, keep track of tokens stored in your MetaMask wallet. This can be done manually via a spreadsheet or using a portfolio tracker such as Ape Board.

Backing Up Your MetaMask Wallet

While you have access to your wallet, follow the below instructions to back up your entire wallet. For this tutorial, I’m using the MetaMask wallet app on my iPhone.

  1. Open your MetaMask wallet and select the menu icon on the top left.
MetaMask Landing Screen

2. Select the Settings option from the menu.

Wallet Menu

3. Select Security & Privacy from the Settings menu.

Settings Menu

4. Under the Protect your wallet section, select the option to back up your wallet. As you can see below, my wallet is already backed up. Also, I recommend watching the video from MetaMask.

Back-Up Screen

5. Once you’ve successfully backed up your wallet, you will receive a Secret Recovery Phrase consisting of 12 words. As mentioned above, it is important that this phrase is saved and stored in a safe and secure location.

Secret Recovery Phrase

MetaMask Wallet Recovery Solution

MetaMask encountered an error due to reaching a storage limit. The local data has been corrupted. Please reinstall MetaMask and restore with your Secret Recovery Phrase.

  1. Remove the app from your device.
Removing MetaMask from iPhone

2. Reinstall MetaMask on your device.

Download MetaMask from the app store

3. Open the MetaMask app and select “Get Started”.

4. On the “Wallet setup” page, select “Import using Secret Recovery Phrase”.

Wallet Setup Page

5. Complete the form with your Secret Recovery Phrase and new password.

Recover and secure your account

Following the above steps will recover your MetaMask wallet. Once your wallet is restored, more work may be required to import your coins and tokens. After restoring my wallet, I noticed that all of my tokens were still “missing” from my wallet. In addition, I didn’t have the Binance Mainnet Network listed which I previously set up prior to encountering the above error and restoring my wallet. To fix this, you will need to follow the wallet setup steps.

  1. Connect to a blockchain network. MetaMask has the Etherum Mainnet Network configured “out-of-the-box”. For Binance Smart Chain tokens, you will need to configure the Binance Mainnet Network.

Select Networks in the Settings menu

MetaMask Settings Page

Select add Networks

Add a Network to MetaMask

Enter the Network’s details

Configure a Network

2. Once the network is configured, you will need to manually add any tokens you have using the contact address of the token. By default, any BNB tokens you have will appear after configuring the Binance Smart Chain network. For this tutorial, I will demonstrate this using my EZ Tokens

Select ADD TOKENS

Using Token’s contract address, complete the Custom Token form. You can use bscscan to locate the contract address but please do your due diligence.

Once the form is completed, select Add Token

You should now see your tokens in your wallet.

You should repeat this step for all tokens you own!