How to do a reverse image search using Google

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If you need to know how to do a reverse image search, then it’s likely you’ve found a picture and you want to know what it’s showing or where it has come from. Thanks to the power of Google, it’s possible to do both of these things, making use of either Google Images or Google Lens.

Reverse image searches can be done on PC, Mac, iPhone (and iPad) or Android and, in many ways, it’s similar to searching using words. The difference is you’re making use of an image — whether that’s one you have seen online or one that you have stored on your device or computer. Let’s see how it’s done.

How to do a reverse image search using Chrome

If you want to do a reverse image search on a PC or Mac, then the easiest way is to make use of the Google Chrome browser. It's the most popular web browser so you may already have it installed on your computer. If you do not, it's worth discovering how to download Google Chrome because its range of features goes way beyond what we're about to look at.

1. Launch Chrome on your PC or Mac and browse the web until you come across an image that you want to search.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Once you've found it, right-click on the image (discover how to right-click on Mac) and select Search image with Google Lens.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Look to the right of the screen and you will see a Google Lens box has appeared. You can scroll down this box to view other instances of the image being used.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Often Google will identify an object in the image. If this is the case, you can click Search using the suggested words. It will open in a new tab.

(Image credit: Future)

5. You can also find where the image has originally come from. To do this, click Find image source.

(Image credit: Future)

6. A new tab will open and you can see the image size. You can also click to find other sizes of the image or scroll down to see which other websites have used the image and which ones are visually similar.

(Image credit: Future)

How to do a reverse image search using another browser

You can also make use of the Google Images website, especially if you are using a browser other than Chrome (it's also worth pointing out that the steps below can be used with Chrome too!). 

In this instance, as well as being able to reverse-search images that you find on the web, you can also upload images you have stored on your computer.

1. Go to https://images.google.com (opens in new tab) and click the Search by Image icon.

(Image credit: Future)

2. You can now find an image on your PC or Mac and drag it into the box or click Upload a file and search for an image on your computerclick Upload when you have found one.

(Image credit: Future)

3. It is also possible to paste an image link. To find that link visit another website and right-click on an image. Next, select the option that lets you copy the image address (URL). You could also open the image and copy the URL in the address box.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Paste the link into the search box in Google Images. Now click Search.

(Image credit: Future)

5. You will be taken to Google Lens. Here you can see where an image has come from — just click Find image source.

You can also scroll down to see where the image has been used. If Google has identified any objects in the image, you can click Search to see results related to the suggested words.

(Image credit: Future)

How to do a reverse image search on Android

Since Chrome comes with Android, you're ready to go when you start browsing thanks to the addition of Google Lens.

1. Launch Chrome on your Android device and visit a website containing the image you want to use.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Touch and hold the image to show the menu and select Search image with Google Lens.

(Image credit: Future)

3. This will take you to Google Lens where you can tap the image then scroll to discover where the image has come from or has been used.

It is also possible to tap a part of the image to see if you can find any visually-related results and, if Google has identified any objects in the image, you can click Search to see results related to the suggested words.

(Image credit: Future)

How to do a reverse image search on an iPhone

As with a PC or Mac, the easiest way to do a reverse image search on an iPhone is to use the Chrome browser which you can download for free on the App Store. You can, however, use Safari or the Google app.

How to reverse image search on an iPhone using Chrome

1. Launch Chrome on your iPhone and visit a website containing the image you want to use.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Touch and hold the image to show the menu and select Search image with Google.

(Image credit: Future)

3. This will take you to Google Lens where you can click Find Image Source to discover where the image has come from or been used. If Google has identified any objects in the image, you can click Search to see results related to the suggested words.

(Image credit: Future)

How to reverse image search on an iPhone using another browser

1. If you are using a browser other than Chrome, visit a website containing the image you want to use then press and hold the image. Select Save to Photos. This will save the image to your Photos app. You can also tap Copy if you would rather not save the image.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Now go to https://images.google.com (opens in new tab) and tap the AA icon in the top-left corner. Select Request Desktop Website.

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3. Select the Search By Image icon to the right of the search bar. This will allow you to upload an image.

(Image credit: Future)

4. You can select Photo Library and find the image you saved or, if you selected Copy earlier, you can paste the link into the Paste Image Link box.

(Image credit: Future)

5. You can also take a fresh image and perform a reverse search on it or select Choose File if you have an image saved elsewhere on your iPhone or in iCloud.

(Image credit: Future)

6. When ready, tap Search. Again, you will be taken to Google Lens where you can click Find Image Source to discover where the image has come from or been used. If Google has identified any objects in the image, you can click Search to see results related to the suggested words.

(Image credit: Future)

How to reverse image search on an iPhone using the Google app

1. Launch the Google app and use it to navigate to a webpage containing an image you want to search. Tap and hold the image and select Find image source.

(Image credit: Future)

2. You can also tap the Search By Image icon to the right of the search bar.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Doing so will allow you to select an image from your Photos app. You will be taken to Google Lens where you can tap the image then scroll to discover where the image has come from or been used.

It is also possible to tap a part of the image to see if you can find any visually-related results and, if Google has identified any objects in the image, you can tap Search to see results related to the suggested words.

(Image credit: Future)

So now you know how to do a reverse image search. But why stop there? You can also learn how to use Google Photos or learn how to back up to Google Photos from a phone, tablet or computer. You can also check out 11 hidden Google Search features that will make your life easier, how to enable Google package tracking or even understand how to delete Google Search history. Fancy a little Chrome gaming on your break? Learn how to hack the Chrome dinosaur game. Want to experiment with a few new Chrome features? Here's how to set Chrome flags. Fancy talking to nobody? Learn how to use ChatGPT.

David Crookes
Contributor

David Crookes is a freelance writer, reporter, editor and author. He has written for technology and gaming magazines including Retro Gamer, Web User, Micro Mart, MagPi, Android, iCreate, Total PC Gaming, T3 and Macworld. He has also covered crime, history, politics, education, health, sport, film, music and more, and been a producer for BBC Radio 5 Live.