Best Bitcoin Wallets for iOS (iPhone, iPad)

Last updated on July 26th, 2017 at 09:39 am

In the past month I’ve been covering the best possible Bitcoin wallets of each type (Android, desktop and hardware). For the final post in this series I’d like to review the Bitcoin wallets available for iOS. Five years ago, your choices for bitcoin wallets was more limited, but in 2017 there are so many options that it can be overwhelming at times.

Before going any further, make sure you familiarize yourself with the basics of Bitcoin wallets through this video:

 

 

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to review the best Bitcoin wallets available for your iPhone or iPad.

If you’ve watch the video from start to finish you probably already know that bitcoin wallets for iOS devices are, in many ways, the least secure wallets available.

Why? First, your phone can be stolen, and even if you have a password or fingerprint sensor, a skilled thief might be able to gain access. Second, you could simply lose or break your phone. If your bitcoins are stored directly on your phone, it’ll also contain your private key. Thus, if something happens to your iPhone or iPad your bitcoin wealth will be at risk.

However, you can create a backup wallet using 12 to 24 word seed phrase. With this phrase on hand, you’ll be able to access a backup of your wallet. It’s recommend that you put your seed phrase in “cold storage”, or physical form. And if you do store in digital form, make sure it is heavily encrypted and otherwise protected.

Now let’s move to the list of wallets.

First Thing’s First- Coinbase is Not a Wallet

Many people just getting started with bitcoin think that Coinbase is a wallet. It’s not. It is an exchange, or marketplace where you can buy and sell bitcoins. In the past, Coinbase positioned itself as a hybrid exchange/wallet. However, the inherent difficulties and risks of such a setup has resulted in the company shifting towards being a pure exchange.

Do. Not. Store. Your. Bitcoins. On. Exchanges. This is one of the biggest rookie mistakes you can make. Exchanges are not meant for long-term, safe storage. Wallets are. So, get a wallet!

#1-  Breadwallet iOS Bitcoin Wallet

If you’re looking for a “bread and butter” wallet, Breadwallet should be at the top of your list. This wallet is stupid easy to use. There are two primary functions: send & receive. It’s a simple as that that. Open source code helps make this wallet a bit more secure, however, a lack of advanced security measures mean it might not be as secure as some other wallets.

breadwallet

#2- MyCelium iOS Bitcoin wallet

First, let’s jump into the downside of MyCelium: it’s a touch more complicated than other wallets. The reason why, however, is a tremendous upside: the “complications” are a result of advanced security futures. When it comes to bitcoin and protecting your wealth, the slight “inconveniences” (I struggle to even call them that) are more than worth it.

mycelium ios

Further, MyCelium is an open source software. That means the whole community is on the look out for security flaws. Also, updates are frequent, and they usually result in increased usability and security.

#3- Copay iOS Bitcoin Wallet

Copay is designed by Bitpay, this co-signature wallet requires two people to sign off an on a transaction before it can be completed. This makes it more difficult for hackers and other unsavory types to try to steal your wealth. Available not just on iPhones or iPads, but also Android and desktop, this is a great wallet for security.

copay

#4 Jaxx iOS Bitcoin Wallet

Jaxx is a bit of a controversial wallet, and that needs to be put front and center. Proponents of the wallet argue that it’s one of the best mobile wallets, and with good reason. The wallet works with a huge range of crypto-currencies, has a great, easy-to-use interface, and can be paired across devices.

jaxx

Critics note that it’s not an open source platform. It’s hard to see the code behind the machine, so to speak, which makes many people uncomfortable. Give this, I’d recommend storing only a small amount of bitcoin or other currencies on Jaxx. Should the software be made open source, Jaxx might rise up the rankings.

#5 Airbitz iOS Bitcoin Wallet

Airbitz is an open source wallet. Its interface resembles the user-friendly BreadWallet interface, but the wallet also features some “newbie” friendly features. For example, there are listings of merchants that accept bitcoin, and ways to buy discounted gift cards.

airbitz

Conclusion – Words of advice for your iPhone / iPad Bitcoin wallet 

Remember, a bitcoin exchange IS NOT a safe place to store your bitcoins. A bitcoin wallet will offer much better security features than your typical bitcoin exchange. Even when using a wallet, we recommend adhering to the following points:

  •       ALWAYS set a pin to protect your wallet
  •       Write down your 12 – 24 seed phrase and store it somewhere safe 
  •       DO NOT store large amounts of bitcoins on your mobile wallet, only on hardware wallets.

Treat bitcoin like you’d treat your other typical financial accounts, gold, and over valuable assets. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Brian Booker

An international financial analyst and writer. He has consulted for the Malaysian government, various MNC's, and other organisations. He focuses on currencies, commodities, and emerging South East Asian markets.

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11 Comments on "Best Bitcoin Wallets for iOS (iPhone, iPad)"

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Tony
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Tony

I read your article. Very informative for a newbie like me. I went to Coinbase to download their app. In you article, you said Coinbase is NOT a wallet, but an Exchange. However, their App states it is a Wallet. Do you know if they have made a change since you published your article? Thank you

Steven Hay
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Steven Hay
Hey Tony, The Coinbase wallet app is like a bank account; your money in theory but under the control of the bank. A true Bitcoin wallet is like a home safe; your money under your control. There are pros and cons to each method. We usually recommend that people use personal wallets, although these carry the burden of personal responsibility for that wallet’s safety. The downside of storing your coins in a Coinbase account is that they control the private keys (and hence, your bitcoins) and if Coinbase gets hacked, seized or turns evil, your coins could be lost. The… Read more »
Linda
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Linda

Hi Steven

I too am a newbie and also signed up with Coinbase thinking it was a wallet. Based on your answer to Tony above, and that Coinbase controls the private keys, how then do I obtain my private key for the transactions I made? Would I get the private key(s) once I buy a wallet? And are they still considered “private”? I did receive a submission key. Is that the same thing as a private key??
Thank you for your time!!

Steven Hay
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Steven Hay

Oh yes, the submission key is a Coinbase thing and not related to your privkey. And all wallets besides hardware wallets are free. Electrum.org is the official site.

Steven Hay
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Steven Hay
Hey Linda, Well, Coinbase is an online exchange wallet, to be exact. So they control your private and will not give it to you, even if you ask. There are good reasons for this. If Coinbase gave out the private keys for client funds and these funds were moved, it’d be impossible to prove who moved any such funds – client, Coinbase or someone else. All kinds of fraud could result. That said, one of Bitcoin’s key features is that people get to control and fully own their money. To do this, it’s necessary to use a personal wallet. Note… Read more »
Linda
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Linda

Thank you!!

Linda
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Linda

Hello Steven!

I followed your advice and opened an Electrum wallet. As your site states, it is a bit tricky to know how to transfer from Coinbase exchange to the Electrum wallet as Electrum is not as user friendly as other wallets, but more secure. I’m concerned that I may lose my coins if not done correctly. I did research the transfer process, however most of the information was older and I didn’t want to chance it. Do you have a step-by-step guide to help me with the transferring process?

Steven Hay
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Steven Hay
Hi Linda, OK great. We don’t have a step-by-step guide to this unfortunately, but it’s not too tricky. I suggest that you first try it with a small amount to get comfortable with the process. So you found the Coinbase help page describing how to withdraw? If you understand that process, all you need to do is get your receiving address within the Electrum wallet. To do that, navigate to the “Receive” tab in Electrum. There should be a field labelled “Receiving Address” at the top, with a long string of characters starting with a 1 or 3 next to… Read more »
Linda
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Linda
Hello Steven! I followed your instruction, as well as the Coinbase help section. Thank you! And fairly simple once I let my fear of losing coins go!! However, on the Coinbase side, it tells me to enter a “valid’ ETH address when I tried to send my Ethereum and won’t let me continue. I did a copy and paste of the clipboard from Electrum on the “receive” tab as above, but Coinbase is not accepting the address. I tried 3 separate times between yesterday and today. Nothing was completed so I do not have anything in Electrum “History” tab. There… Read more »
Steven Hay
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Steven Hay

Hi Linda,

Glad to be of assistance!

To receive Ethereum, you will need a dedicated Ethereum wallet. Electrum only handles Bitcoin (BTC). Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin are separate cryptocurrencies and have different address formats. Bitcoin addresses start with a 1 or 3, and Ethereum addresses start with 0x.

Coinbase has been having some issues, yes. I think they’re sorted out for Bitcoin and Ethereum at this point.

See our section on choosing an Ethereum wallet for further help:

Best Ethereum Wallet (2018 Update) – 5 Options Reviewed

Jared
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Jared

Great content Brian. It’s super helpful for beginners to understand the difference between a wallet and an exchange. Too many bitcoin noobs have been hacked by leaving their bitcoin in an exchange. Thanks for the post.

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