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A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

Searching for the original source of an image online? Here’s your complete guide to reverse image search on all the major search engines.

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

Searching for the original source of an image you like online?

Want a complete list of all the pages your image appears in on the web?

Here’s your complete guide to reverse image search on today’s major search engines:

Bonus: we’ll show you how to do reverse search on both desktop and mobile.

Let’s get started.

What Is Reverse Image Search?

Reverse imagine search is pretty cool.

It’s a lot like a regular keyword search, but this time it’s with images.

Reverse image search lets you explore an image in-depth.

It gives you details on the image’s size, what the image is, and where you can find it online (the exact pages with links).

Why Use Reverse Image Search?

Reverse image search is fun to do when you have a few extra minutes sitting at your computer.

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But it’s extremely useful as well.

You can use it to:

  • Find interesting facts about an image you like.
  • Learn the copyright status of an image before using it.
  • Track copyright violations on images you’re already using.
  • Find out if other people are using your images.

Why Reverse Image Search Sometimes Doesn’t Work

Reverse image search doesn’t work every single time.

There are times when you’ll upload a photo on the search bar and get zero results.

When this happens, it’s likely because the website on which the image appears prevents images from being indexed.

Also, data centers can be slightly out of sync.

This means some users can find the image using reverse image search while others can’t.

How to Do Reverse Image Search on Today’s Major Search Engines

The amazing thing is you can use your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, Yandex) to perform reverse image search.

If you want to use a search engine created specifically for reverse image search, you can go ahead and use TinEye.

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Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a Mac or PC, or what browser you use (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc. work just fine).

How to Do a Reverse Image Search on Google (Desktop)

1. Open Google on a Compatible Browser

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

Reverse image search works on Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.

Once you have access to a browser, open Google Images.

2. Upload Your Image

If you found an image online that you would like to look up, one option before doing a reverse search is to save it to your desktop.

Then, once you have opened up Google Images, go to the right side of the search bar and click the camera icon.

Google image search

Upload your picture by either dragging and dropping it into the search area or by loading the file from your desktop.

Note: you can only search for one image at a time.

3. Upload the URL with the Photo

If the image is not saved to your desktop, you can also click on the Google image’s camera icon again to paste the photo’s URL.

To get the photo’s URL, right-click the image with your mouse and select the option “open image in new tab.”

Highlight the URL in the website’s search bar and simultaneously hold down the “command” and “C” key to copy the text.

Then, click the “Paste image URL” tab.

Insert your copied URL into the available space.

4. Explore Your Results

Once you click “search,” you will see your uploaded photo at the top of the page along with some suggested keywords.

Next to the image, Google will also tell you if there are other sizes of the image available for you to download.

From there, you can explore similar images or websites that contain the photograph.

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Google Images search results

How to Do a Reverse Image Search on Google (Chrome App on a Mobile Device)

Need to do a quick reverse image search when you’re on the go?

Here’s how to do it without turning on your computer.

1. Open Google Images in Your Chrome App

Using the app is an easy way to use reverse image search on your phone if you’re pulling a picture from the web.

Open your Chrome app and pull up Google Image Search.

2. Search for Your Image

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

Type the image you were looking for into the search bar and click “enter.”

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A list of photographs will appear.

Tap your desired image.

3. Select ‘Search Google for this Image’

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

After you open the image on your phone, click and hold on the picture.

A drop-down menu will appear with several options.

Click the bottom tab that says, “Search Google for This Image.”

4. Explore Your Results

A new tab will open in Chrome, showing you where else the image is located and different sizes available.

How to Do a Reverse Image Search on Google (Mobile, in a Browser)

1. Open Google Images in Your Web Browser

The easiest way to do a reverse search on your phone is to download the Chrome app as outlined above, but it is possible to do it in your browser.

The first step, naturally, is to open Google Images in your browser.

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2. Get Rid of Your Mobile View

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

You’ll notice that, once you pull up Google Images on your phone, there is nowhere to search an image.

To obtain that feature, change the website settings to the desktop view.

Click the double “AA” icon in the top left corner of the search bar.

Select the third option on the drop-down menu that says, “Request Desktop Website.”

This will change the screen to look like the Google browser you would traditionally see on your computer.

3. Upload an Image

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

Click the camera icon on the right side of the Google Images search bar to explore your reversed image.

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When you click the button two options will appear: “Paste image URL” and “Upload an image.”

If the image is uploaded on your camera roll, select “Upload an image,” click “Photo Library” and select your picture.

The browser will then upload the photo for you.

You can also choose from taking a photo or browsing your previous documents or screenshots when uploading a file.

Or, Paste the Image URL

A Complete Guide to Reverse Image Search

If you don’t have the image saved on your phone, select the “Paste image URL” tab.

To obtain your picture’s URL, open the photo in your browser, hold the image down and select “copy.”

After, paste your URL into the URL upload tab.

4. Explore Your Results

After you either upload your image and the URL, click the search icon.

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The website will show you related searches, other available image sizes and websites with the same picture.

How to Do Reverse Image Search on Google (iPhone)

Open your browser and go to images.google.com.

If you’re using Safari, click on the Share icon.

If you’re using Chrome, look at the bottom-right of your screen for the three dots and click that.

Select Request Desktop Site.

Upload your image to see the results.

How to Do Reverse Image Search on Bing

Click on the Images option on the top left side of Bing’s homepage.

Select Search using an image on the search bar.

Bing image search

Your options are to drag an image into the search bar, upload an image, paste a URL or image, or take a photo.

Bing visual searchNote: Unlike with Google, you can drag more than one image into the search bar!
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Here are the results for a photo uploaded from desktop.

Bing image search results

You can click on tabs to view pages where the image appears, similar images, and related searches.

How to Do Reverse Image Search on Yandex

On Yandex, click Images on the top left of the search bar.

Yandex images

Click on the camera icon.

search images on Yandex

You’ll get the option to enter your image’s URL or upload a photo from your desktop.

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Let’s say you decide to save and then upload the photo from desktop. You’ll get results like these.

Yandex image search results

Notice how detailed the image size details are?

If you scroll down, you’ll see similar images and a list of all the pages where the image is displayed.

There’s even a Recognize Text button that allows you to search or translate the words in the image.

image text recognition on Yandex

How to Do Reverse Image Search on TinEye

TinEye is the search engine where you can do quick, no-nonsense reverse image search.

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TinEye reverse image search

To start, click the upload button on the left side of the search bar to browse from your desktop’s saved images.

Or paste the image’s URL into the search bar.

You can also drag and drop an image from an open browser tab straight into the TinEye homepage!

When you’re done, you’ll get results like these.

TinEye image search results

The cool part is you can use a filter to search by image size, newest or oldest post, best match, and most changed.

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You can also filter by domain or collection to narrow down your results.

TinEye image search filters

Reverse Image Search: The Easy Way to Get Relevant Details About Images

There’s a ton of reasons why you’d want to know more about an image.

  • You want to know if you can post it on your site.
  • You want to know who’s using your images.
  • You’re just curious about an image you like.

The good news is you can now do it with any browser or search engine you choose.

It’s easy to do on Mac or PC, iPhone or Android, mobile, or desktop.

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Have fun!

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, May 2020

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Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is a serial entrepreneur and content marketer, with a knack for writing, creating and building successful ventures through ... [Read full bio]

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