iPhone Bitcoin Wallet Guide

It was only last month that Apple finally changed their policy to allow Bitcoin apps on the AppStore. Now sending and receiving Bitcoin is as easy as installing an app. Below is a step by step guide on how to use the top 3 apps currently available.


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Mobile wallets should be used for Day to Day Spending rather than for storage purposes. They should be used when you are trying to buy something online or in person with Bitcoin and speed/convenience is more important than security. You should never keep more money than you are willing to lose in this type of wallet. Think of it like the wallet you carry around on a daily basis, you wouldn't carry your life savings around with you, same thing should apply here.


CoinPocketApp

Best All Around App

CoinPocketApp is both a browser based wallet as well as a phone app. CoinPocketApp's code is open source so the community can audit it and make sure that it is safe.

Step 1: Generating Your Bitcoin Address

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Coin Pocket is generating your Bitcoin address, move your device around in order to add increased randomness, making the process more secure. You also need to choose a password. The longer, the better, but if you lose your password there will be no way of recovering it. It is probably a good idea to write down the password on a piece of paper and stashing it somewhere safe. You don't want your password to be too short because then it will be easier to crack. The password will be used to encrypt your backups, so if a malicious individual obtains your backup, the password will be the only thing standing between them and your funds.

Step 2: Backing up your Private Key

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You can send the encrypted private key in an email or you can screenshot it. To recover a backup in the future, you will scan the QR Code with your phone and enter your password.

Sending Bitcoin

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Click send at the top of the screen. Click scan code to open up the camera app and scan the Bitcoin address you wish to send coins to. Alternatively you can manually type the address in. Enter the amount of Bitcoin you wish to send, and the app automatically shows you its current value in USD. The app allows you to choose between the current Coinbase price, Bitpay price, or Coindesk BPI price in the settings. Then you click 'next', they will ask you to confirm, and the transaction is broadcast to the network.

Receiving Bitcoin

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Click receive at the top of the screen. A QR code of your Bitcoin address is shown on the screen. The app allows you to easily send the address by email or you can just have the person scan the code directly from the phone if it is an in-person transaction.

Importing a Backup or a Paper Wallet

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Click receive at the top of the screen. Then click Sweep Private Key. If you click Scan Code you can scan the QR code of the private key or you can manually type in the private key. If the private key is encrypted, which your backup is, then you will be asked to enter your password. You can also use this method to import a cold storage paper wallet. Put simply, it takes all the Bitcoin associated with that private key and sends it to your Coin Pocket address.


Pheeva

Best for Users who are not Tech Savvy

Pheeva is availbale for iPhone, Android, and as a Chrome extension for use on your computer. Pheeva has a partnership with Gyft that allows you to buy gift cards with Bitcoin directly from the app. This feature enables you to indirectly use Bitcoin in shops like Target and Whole Foods, who don't actually accept Bitcoin yet. Pheeva's code is not open source.

Step 1: Generating your Bitcoin Address

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Pheeva is the only app out of the three reviewed here that requires you to register an email address with your account. The app will also ask you to choose a username, referred to as a Coin!D, making it easier to send/receive Bitcoin from other Phreeva users. You also need to choose a password. The longer, the better, but if you lose your password there will be no way of recovering it. It is probably a good idea to write down the password on a piece of paper and stashing it somewhere safe. You don't want your password to be too short because then it will be easier to crack. The password will be used to encrypt your backups, so if a malicious individual obtains your backup, the password will be the only thing standing between them and your funds.

Step 2: Backing up your Private Key

Pheeva handles backups for you and does not allow you to manually back up your private key. You can access your funds on any device by simply signing in with your email or Coin!D and your password.

Sending Bitcoin

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Click the Bitcoin logo with the arrow going to the right to initiate a payment. Then type in the BTC address, Coin!D, select a contact (since Pheeva hooks into your phone's address book), or you can scan a QR code by clicking the little QR code symbol on the top right.

Receiving Bitcoin

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Click the Bitcoin logo with the arrow going to the left to receive a payment. Other Pheeva users can send you Bitcoin with just your Coin!D, but everyone else will need your Bitcoin address. You can have them scan the QR code from your phone directly or you can send them a screenshot. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the text version of your Bitcoin address (the string of numbers and letters underneath the QR code) into a text message or your favorite chat program.

Importing a Private Key or Paper Wallet

On the Receive Bitcoin page there is a button to Import a Paper Wallet. This feature will allow you to scan an unencrypted private key, and have Pheeva send all the funds located at that address to your Pheeva address. Unlike many other wallets, Pheeva doesn't allow you to import password protected encrypted private keys.

Using Gyft

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Pheeva's signature feature is the built in Gyft integration that allows you to buy gift cards with Bitcoin directly from the app. This feature enables you to indirectly use Bitcoin in shops like Target and Whole Foods, who don't actually accept Bitcoin yet. Click the + on the bottom of the homepage, click Gyft, then sign in to your account or create a new one. Now you can buy Bitcoin from participating retailers directly from the app.


BitWallet

Best for Power Users

BitWallet offers more features than CoinPocketApp and Pheeva. You can create multiple wallets, with multiple private keys, and you can setup watchlists for Bitcoin addresses controlled by others. However, BitWallet has one major feature missing, it lacks support for password protected BIP38 encrypted private keys. All keys handled by BitWallet must be unencrypted. Also, BitWallet's code is not open source.

Step 1: Generating your Bitcoin Address

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When you launch BitWallet for the first time, it automatically generates a new Bitcoin Address for you without any user input required. Unlike CoinPocketApp and Pheeva, BitWallet allows you to manage more than one wallet and you can setup watch lists for Bitcoin addresses not necessarily under your control.

Step 2: Encrypting and Backing up your Private Keys

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By default, private keys generated in BitWallet aren't encrypted by a password. Make sure you go into settings and create a password. This actually only encrypts the app rather than the individual keys. This means that there is really no secure way to backup your keys using this app, but you can write down the unencrypted private keys on to a piece of paper and stash them somewhere safe. Make sure they are kept in a safe place and never are on a device that is connected to the internet because if someone gets access to the keys then they have complete control of your funds.

Sending Bitcoin

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Go into the Bitcoin address you wish to send Bitcoin from. Click pay at the top right of the screen and fill out the relevant info or scan a QR code. Then the app will ask you to confirm the transaction before broadcasting it to the network.

Receiving Bitcoin

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Click into the Bitcoin Address that you would like to receive Bitcoin with. Then click the menu button on the bottom left corner. From there you can send a payment request or just share your Bitcoin Address.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended solely to provide information. As I have no knowledge of individual circumstances and technical level, readers are expected to complete their own due diligence before proceeding with anything mentioned in this article. The topics discussed in this post are advanced and readers proceed at their own risk. Readers are expected to complete their own due diligence before purchasing or selling anything mentioned or recommended.