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Using the Polkadot Ledger Apps

If you need help using Ledger, see this support article. If the problem persists, you can contact the Polkadot Support Team.

The Polkadot Ledger application is compatible with the Ledger Nano S, Nano X, and Stax devices. Ledger devices are hardware wallets that keep your secret key secured on a physical device that does not expose it to your computer or the internet. The private keys will not be exposed even if you connect your Ledger device via USB to your computer.

Ledger devices are hierarchical deterministic wallets (HD wallets), where:

  • Deterministic means that only one seed phrase generates all the accounts for different blockchain networks.
  • Hierarchical means that the accounts are generated in a tree-like structure for different purposes.

Ledger Devices Compatibility

DevicePlatformBatteryAppsSecurityStatus
Nano SPC1NoAll (lite, XL2)Certified Secure Element (CC EAL5+)Discontinued
Nano S PlusPCNoAll (lite, XL, plus)Certified Secure Element (CC EAL6+)In Production
Nano XPC, Mobile via bluetoothYesAll (lite, XL, plus)Certified Secure Element (CC EAL5+)In Production
StaxPC, Mobile via bluetoothYesDedicatedCertified Secure Element (CC EAL6+)In Production
1 Because of required WebUSB support, Ledger wallets currently only work on Chromium-based browsers like Google Chrome.

2 The lite version of the Polkadot Ledger App that you can install by default in the Ledger Nano S has limited functionality. The Ledger Nano S is no longer produced and has limited memory that is just right to accommodate the XL version of the Polkadot Ledger App, which gives the user more functionalities.

If you do use a Nano S with the XL version, you will not be able to:

  • Install any other Ledger application on your device
  • Add Polkadot accounts to the Ledger Live App.

But you will be able to add them to wallets and extensions that support Ledger devices.

More information on Ledger device comparisons here.

Requirements

Here is a list of what you will need before using Polkadot with Ledger:

  • A Ledger Nano X, Stax, or Nano S plus (recommended for Polkadot Ledger App space requirements and functionalities).
  • Ledger Live installed and up-to-date.
  • The latest firmware of the Polkadot Ledger App installed (always check for updates in Ledger Live under the "Manager" tab, you will need to allow access with your nano).
  • A Chromium-based web browser if you use a browser extension.

Polkadot Ledger App

Ledger devices can be equipped with applications that are blockchain-specific. Third parties usually develop such applications, enabling users to transact securely on the blockchain network. Polkadot Ledger apps are developed by Zondax and are available here. The Polkadot Ledger applications allow you to manage Polkadot's native token, DOT, and more depending on the version of the app.

Ledger apps may not support all the transactions

Check the Ledger Polkadot App specification for the list of transactions supported. Some transactions are supported only on a specific app version, and others are not supported by any version. For instance, joining a nomination pool is only possible with the XL version but not on the lite version.

There are currently three versions of the Polkadot Ledger app, described below.

App VersionSupport
liteOngoing
XLOngoing
Nano SP/X - StaxOngoing

These Ledger apps must be updated every time there is a runtime upgrade.

Polkadot Ledger Generic App

In Development

Check this website for updates and info.

The Polkadot Ledger Generic App will allow you to use your Ledger device on the Relay Chain and parachains without being affected by runtime upgrades. The goal is to provide a single application for the entire Polkadot ecosystem without compromising security. This new app will also count with Clear Signing, allowing you to see what you sign on a trusted display. This way, unintentionally signing rogue transactions can be avoided. See this page to understand the importance of verifying transactions before signing them.

The Polkadot Ledger Generic app brings the following benefits:

  • Innovation Acceleration: Enabling teams to innovate and develop new features for relay chains, parachains, and current/future users.
  • Network Adoption: Facilitating a smoother and more user-friendly adoption of the Polkadot ecosystem.
  • Innovation without compromising security: The new Polkadot app comes with the highest security standards so that users can keep their assets safe.
  • Development Efficiency: The app helps developing teams save costs by having and maintaining their app.

The Polkadot Ledger Generic app will be supported by Ledger Live, Nova Wallet, Talisman, and Subwallet.

For more information about the Polkadot Generic App, see the Ledger FAQ, and Zondax beryx page.

Using Ledger Live

See this support article to learn how to use Polkadot with ledger live.

Ledger Developer Release

danger

This section is for developers only. It is recommended to install the application from Ledger Live unless you know precisely what you're doing.

Why you might need the Developer Release

Ledger apps for the Polkadot ecosystem are developed by Zondax. When new functionalities are added to the Ledger apps, they are made available on a developer release for testing purposes. After a successful audit and review, the apps would be available for download and installation using Ledger Live. As it takes some time for Ledger to audit and review the release, the app upgrade option may not be available on Ledger Live when the new runtime is deployed on the network. If this happens, users cannot use Ledger devices to sign transactions. Suppose you cannot wait a few days until the app passes the Ledger audit, you can install the developer release from the shell using the latest version published on the Zondax GitHub repository.

Install the Developer Release

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See this video tutorial to learn how to install the developer release of your ledger app.

Currently, the developer release can be installed only on the Nano S and S Plus devices and can't be installed on the Nano X.

To install the developer version, make sure you have the latest pip version and follow the steps below:

  • Install ledgerblue running the command python3 -m pip install ledgerblue.
  • Download the developer release from the Zondax GitHub repository. The file will be named installer_nanos_plus.sh or something similar, depending on your ledger device.
  • Locate the downloaded shell script and make it executable in your shell by typing the command chmod +x installer_nanos_plus.sh.
  • You can now use the ./installer_nanos_plus.sh --help command to visualize the available options (see below)

Dev Ledger Help Menu

  • Attach your Ledger Nano (in this case, Nano S Plus) to your computer, enter the PIN code, and run the command ./installer_nanos_plus.sh load. Scroll with the right button until you see "Allow unsafe manager", left and right press to confirm. You will be asked to confirm the action of uninstalling the app and subsequently installing the newer version. After confirming both actions, the shell script will install the version on your device. You must insert the PIN code to use the device after the installation.
  • If you wish to revert the version to the stable release, go to Ledger Live. The app will automatically detect the developer release and give the option to install the previous stable release.

Polkadot-JS Guides

If you are an advanced user, see the Polkadot-JS guides about Ledger.