How to Do a Reverse Image Search on iPhone or Android

Track down the origins of images using your mobile device

Woman looking at an image of a bottle on their smartphone while a bowl of food sits nearby

Mats Silvan / Getty Images

Google Images is a useful tool for searching photos online, but did you know it’s also great for researching the origins of a picture? Whether you’re looking for more photos from a set or want to know when a shot first appeared on the web, here are some tips and advice on performing a Google reverse image search on iPhone and Android phones.

Use Google Images to Reverse Image Search on a Mobile Browser

The mobile version of Google Images is great if you want to search using keywords, but you can also look up a photo's URL.

  1. In your mobile browser, find the image you want to search.

  2. Press and hold on the image for a moment and an options menu will show up.

  3. Tap Copy to save the image URL to your clipboard.

    Screenshot showing an image in Safari with options menu open and the Copy button highlighted.
  4. Tap and hold on the search box, paste the URL, then tap the search icon to start the search.

    Screenshot showing Google Images on Safari with a URL pasted in the search field and the box highlighted.
  5. If your search doesn't return any results, tap search by image.

    Screenshot showing Google Images search results on mobile with the option to search by image.
  6. The page will reload with your image results.

Use Google Chrome to Reverse Image Search on iPhone or Android

While the mobile version of Chrome isn't quite as feature-rich as its desktop counterpart, it’s still capable of more than a few neat tricks, including performing image searches directly from a web page.

  1. Open Google Chrome on your iOS or Android device.

    If you don’t have it already, you can download Chrome from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.

  2. Find a picture you want to search.

    iPhone screenshot showing kitten Wikipedia entry with an image highlighted.
  3. Press and hold on the image for a moment and an options menu will appear. Tap Search Google for This Image.

    iPhone screenshot showing kitten Wikipedia entry with the image options highlighted.
  4. Chrome will launch a new tab and load your search results.

Chrome allows you to change the default search engine from Google to Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, or AOL. If you've switched to a different search engine, Chrome will still allow you to search images, but results may vary.

Perform a Google Reverse Image Search Using a Downloaded Picture

Unlike its desktop counterpart, Google Images doesn't have a native option for searching images you have downloaded to your iPhone or Android device. Fortunately, Digital Inspiration offers a free web tool to let you upload your picture and launch a reverse Google image search.

  1. Find the image you want to download, then press and hold on the photo until the options menu appears.

  2. Tap Save Image.

    Screenshot of mobile Safari showing image options with Save Image highlighted.
  3. In your browser, navigate to Digital Inspiration's reverse image lookup tool.

    This image lookup tool also works on the desktop web.

  4. Tap Upload.

    Digital Inspiration's image lookup tool with the Upload button highlighted.
  5. You'll be asked if you want to take a picture or upload one from your device. Tap Photo Library to find and upload your image.

    Digital Inspiration's image lookup tool with the image picker tool highlighted.
  6. You'll be taken to your device albums. Find your image and tap it to launch the search.

  7. Next, tap Show Matches.

    Screenshot showing Digital Inspiration's image lookup tool with the Show Matches button highlighted.
  8. Your Google Images search results will open in a new tab.

Tips for Working With Google Reverse Image Search Results

Your Google Image results will likely be populated by a number of links and similar pictures. You can refine your results further with additional search tools.

Sort Google Images Search Results by Time

Time filters are great for finding the earliest instance of an image appearing on the web or tracking changes over time.

  1. Perform a Google Images search and go to the results.

  2. On the options tab, scroll left, then tap Search Tools.

    Screenshot showing Google Images results with the Search Tools option highlighted.
  3. Tap Time.

    Screenshot showing Google Images results with the Time option highlighted.
  4. A drop-down menu will appear, giving you options for filtering your results by various periods.

    Screenshot showing Google Images search results with Time options highlighted.
  5. Results will now be filtered to only include results from your chosen range.

Sort Google Images Search Results by Visually Similar Pictures

Google Images' Visually Similar filter is a helpful tool if you're trying to find more photos from a set or tracking any changes that have been made to the image over time.

  1. Perform a Google Images search and go to the results.

  2. On the options tab, scroll left and tap Search Tools.

    Screenshot showing Google Images results with the Search Tools option highlighted.
  3. Tap Search by Image.

    Screenshot showing Google Images results with the Search by image option highlighted.
  4. A dropdown menu will appear, giving you a few options to filter your results. Tap Visually Similar.

    Screenshot showing Google Images search results with search by image options highlighted.
  5. The page will reload with your search results.

How to Perform a Google Reverse Image Search via an App

You can also use an app to perform a Google reverse image search. Reverse Image Search Tool for iOS is one of the best.

  1. Download Reverse Image Search Tool from the app store.
  2. Open the app.
  3. It will automatically launch the back camera, allowing you to snap a photo, then search.
  4. To launch a Google Images search, tap the gallery icon in the lower right side.
  5. You'll be taken to your device albums. Find and tap your image.
  6. You now have the option to crop or rotate your image. Tap Done to initiate your search.
  7. You can choose to search using Google, Bing, Tineye, or Yandex. If you select Cancel, the app will automatically search using Google.
  8. Your results are returned within the app's browser.

Reverse Image Search Tool isn't your only app option. Reverse Image Search App for iOS, as well as Photo Sherlock and Image Search for Android are other notable image search apps.