Hey Dan. Welcome to IOTA!
What’s up with seeds?
Have a look at this thread:
So, if something happens to my computer, my IOTAs are still safe, right?
Affirmative. As long as you have your seed you can recreate all of your private keys and addresses, thereby regaining access to your IOTAs.
This also means that anyone who knows (or finds) your seed can spend your IOTAs as well, so treat your seed like your online banking passwords!
What if there’s an update to the wallet?
I think the best way to think about this is to draw a distinction between the software and the protocol.
In the IOTA ecosystem, there’s a lot of software — API libraries, wallets, nodes, etc. This software can be updated from time to time — new features added, bugs squashed, etc.
However, as long as the IOTA protocol doesn’t change, then the software still has to follow the same “rules”. Updates to the wallet software won’t, for example, suddenly change all of your addresses.
OK, but you didn’t really answer my question…
Fair point. Alright; here’s the skinny:
Protocol changes are rare, but they do happen. When a protocol change occurs, it will be accompanied by an update to the wallet software, and there may be some transition process involved.
For example, about 2 months ago the IOTA protocol was changed to use a different hash algorithm. Among other things, this changed the way addresses were generated, so everyone’s addresses changed.
Accompanying the protocol change was an update to the IOTA Wallet software, and the first time you launched the new version, it initiated a transition process so that you could recover your IOTAs from the old version of the protocol.
Err, does that mean I’m going to have to do this for every update?
Protocol changes are very rare. Most of the time, when the IOTA Wallet software is updated, it is done to fix some bugs and/or add new features.
These updates will “just work”, and there won’t be any sort of transition process to worry about.