In this guide we explain everything you need to know about installing and using Feather Wallet, the best desktop wallet client for Monero (XMR).
As a privacy-focused cryptocurrency, Monero has been around since 2014, but for the first six or so years of its existence it lacked a user-friendly interface that was consistently reliable and easy to install. This changed in 2020 with the release of the Feather Wallet, coded from scratch by developers at The Monero Project. Feather is a Monero-only desktop client wallet that is free, open-source and available for all major operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Tails.
Feather is similar in design to the Electrum desktop wallet for Bitcoin in that it features a sleek, intuitive interface, provides users with self-custody over their coins, and connects to independent nodes to sync with the blockchain. Wallets are created via seed phrase which provides one primary (master) address and an infinite number of subaddresses. Addresses can be easily labeled and sends are performed with the click of a button. There is perhaps no easier way to receive, store and send XMR on PC than via the Feather Wallet, and it is considered a must-have for any regular user of Monero.
Below we provide step-by-step instructions on how to install and use the wallet.
1. Download Feather Wallet
There are three ways to access the wallet download software:
- Feather Wallet homepage on the clearnet (for casual XMR users).
- Feather Wallet homepage on Tor (for those who require more anonymity).
- Feather Wallet page on GitHub (for those who want to compile the wallet directly from the source code).
If you are accessing one of the first two sites (we will not be providing wallet compilation instructions in this guide), you will first want to click on the “Download” link toward the top of the screen. You will see the following options (note the most recent version is 2.1.2, which was released on Dec. 20, 2022):
For the purposes of this guide, we will be downloading the Windows Standalone Executable version. If you plan to install Feather on a TailsOS device, you will need to configure Persistence Storage on the device to keep it available each time you load Tails. This option can be found by navigating to the “Application->Tails->Configure persistent volume” settings of the OS.
Clicking on the desired download method will launch the download of a zip file. After the file has finished downloading, click on it to begin extracting it. If you are using a newer version of Windows, you may get a blue pop-up window that says “Windows protected your PC”. Click on the “More info” option to reveal the “Run anyway” button.
Click “Run anyway” to begin the installation. After the installation has finished, you will be brought to the wallet creation screen.
2. Create a Wallet File
If this is your first time installing Feather, you will likely want to select the first radio button, which is “Create new wallet”.
After changing the button to this option, press “Next”. You will then be provided with a 16-word seed phrase which you will need to save somewhere secure. Writing it down on paper and storing it in a safe place is a great option. Keeping it in a password-protected document will also suffice, although this is not as secure as the former. Whatever you do, do not save it in an unprotected document or upload it to a cloud-based storage service.
Note that you will need this seed phrase if you should ever get locked out of your wallet, the wallet gets corrupted, or you lose access to it on your computer altogether. After you have saved your seed phrase and are sure you have written down the words in correct order, press “Next” at the bottom of the screen. You will be presented with the following warning that contains sound advice:
After taking the time to read these instructions, press “I understand” to continue. You will then be brought to a window asking you where you want to install the wallet file. Most likely the default option will suit your purposes.
If you are happy with the directory of the wallet, press “Next” at the bottom of the screen. You will then be asked to enter a password for your wallet, twice.
We recommend choosing a password that is at least 10-12 characters in length and a random combination of upper/lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. After you have saved your password in a secure location, press “Create/Open wallet” to continue. Your wallet will now be created, and you will be brought to the main wallet screen.
3. Basic Wallet Overview
The first time you install Feather Wallet, you may need to wait for the wallet to synchronize. This can take a while if you are importing an older wallet, and the wallet will need to sync every time you open the application. The longer you go between uses, the more time it will take for the wallet to sync up to the current block. This is because the most current blockchain information is being downloaded from the nodes connected to the wallet.
This is what the wallet looks like upon a fresh installation with all the default installation options chosen:
Displayed by default are recent Reddit posts in the r/Monero subreddit. Clicking on them will open your default web browser to the selected Reddit post. Other display options in this Home section of the wallet are CCS (Community Crowdfunding Proposals), Bounties (various bug & improvement bounties for Monero and related software), and Revuo (feed from a Monero-focused news site). In addition to Home, other tabs featured in the wallet include:
- History (ledger of previous wallet transactions)
- Send (create an outbound send transaction)
- Receive (displays subaddresses with option to create new ones)
- Calc (prices units of XMR in a variety of fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies)
Above these tabs are all Feather’s menu options, which include:
- File (open or create a new wallet, close wallet, basic settings which include General, Privacy, Node, Path, and Links options)
- Wallet (where you can find your seed phrase, keys, password, as well as primary address and view key by selecting “View-Only”)
- View (set which tabs are displayed in the wallet)
- Tools (sign/verify message, verify tx proof, load/import/broadcast txs, pay to many, etc.)
- Help (links to official documentation, website, bug report, as well as the debug window)
Also note that in the bottom-right corner of the wallet, to the right of the balance display, several status icons can be found:
Going from left to right, the first indicator displays the wallet’s Connection Status (green for connected to a node, red for disconnected), Account Switcher (for moving between different accounts within the same wallet), Password (for changing your wallet password), Settings (includes hide balance, log file disabling, wallet lock, and offline mode), Seed (for displaying seed phrase), and Tor settings (Feather runs through Tor by default after the initial wallet synchronization, but this option can be disabled).
In its current version, Feather Wallet’s connectivity is very robust, meaning you will likely not need to make any significant changes to its settings in order to receive and send funds. Reachable nodes are updated with each subsequent Feather release, and the wallet will nearly always sync on its own without needing to change node settings. More advanced XMR users may want to take some time to adjust some of these settings to suit their personal preferences.
4. Receiving XMR
To fund your Feather Wallet, first click on the “Receive” tab. This will bring up a list of pre-generated subaddresses (begin with the number ‘8’) which belong to your wallet.
Notice that in the bottom-right corner there are options for showing used addresses, showing hidden addresses, and creating a new address. You will want to use a new address each time you receive funds, so enabling the “Show used” option is recommended to be able to easily see which addresses have already been used.
Clicking on an address will reveal a QR code for it in the right column which can be scanned, as well as a Payment Request button that can be used to input payment details for the generation of a more specific QR code. Right-clicking an address brings up the following options:
If you are sending XMR to yourself via PC, you will want to copy the address and then paste it into whatever application or website you are making a payment from. Note that you can also make labels for addresses in this option to keep track of what each address is being used for, as well as hiding addresses from displaying in this screen.
After a send has been initiated and detected by the Monero blockchain, the wallet balance display will update to reflect the incoming transaction.
As with most XMR transactions, the incoming payment will require a number of confirmations by the Monero blockchain before it becomes spendable (10 blocks), and thus fully confirmed. The process of settling the incoming transaction usually takes 20-30 minutes, after which the payment will be reflected in the balance.
The payment is now deemed spendable, and your funds can be sent to other addresses.
5. Sending XMR
After your wallet has been funded and your balance is settled, you can send XMR by clicking on the “Send” tab. From this screen, simply paste the address to which you are sending funds in the “Pay to” field along with the amount in the “Amount” field. Press the “Max” button next to the amount if you want to send your entire balance to the recipient.
You can also click the “Scan” button to the right of the “Pay to” field if you want to use your PC’s camera to scan a QR code that contains the address. After you have confirmed that your pay-to address and amount to be paid have been entered correctly, press the “Send” button. This will create the transaction, but you will have a chance to review it to make sure your details are correct.
If everything looks good, press the “Send” button to send the funds. Keep in mind there is no option to alter the fee being assigned to the transaction, but all transactions will have at least the minimum fee necessary to be picked up for inclusion into a block by a miner. Pressing “Advanced” will give you the chance to export unsigned and signed versions of the transaction, as well as the transaction key (for advanced users).
Granted you are connected to a wallet node, your transaction will then be sent, and confirmed as follows:
Press “Show details” to follow the progress of the transaction, and for an update on when it is confirmed, and in how many blocks its been confirmed. You will also be able to see the transaction (along with all prior transactions) in the History tab:
And that’s it. You now know how to receive, store, and send XMR using Feather Wallet.
6. Final Thoughts
The Feather desktop wallet for Monero is a powerful utility that makes using the world’s best privacy coin easier than ever. Like with any cryptocurrency, however, it is important that you always protect your seed phrase and wallet password, never entering them anywhere online or giving them out to others. Those who want to assure maximum privacy will want to download the wallet file over Tor and most likely on a TailsOS device.
Other basic step to maximizing the privacy afforded by Monero including always using a fresh address when receiving coins (never re-using addresses), sending non-whole number amounts of coins (utilizing 8 decimal places when possible), not saving addresses anywhere outside of the wallet, and always making transactions over the Tor network, which the wallet is set to do by default. For more detailed information about the Feather Wallet, a full set of documentation can be found here.