How to Use Google Reverse Image Search

Find out where that picture came from using your PC, Mac, laptop, or tablet

Using Google to reverse image search is a useful method for researching the origins of a photo found online. Whether it’s a historical picture presented with little context or an image that seems doctored, you can search the web for other instances of its use with Google Images.

Perform a Google Reverse Image Search With Drag and Drop

This is a really useful way of searching an image you’ve downloaded to your device.

  1. Go to Google Images.

    Google search bar
  2. Locate the image file on your device.

  3. Select and drag the file to the Google Images search page. The search box will change as you place the image over it.

    A file being dragged onto the Google Image search box.
  4. Drop the image and Google will begin to search.

    Google Image search uploading an image
  5. Your results will appear in a Google Search page.

Perform a Google Reverse Image Search Using a Picture's URL

If you've found an image online but don't want to download it, you can instead search for it by copying and pasting its URL.

  1. Find the image you want to search and right-click or control-click the image reveal the additional options menu.

  2. Select Copy Image Address to copy the picture's URL.

    Copy image address option in web browser
  3. Go to Google Images, then select the camera icon in the search bar.

    Search by image using Google search
  4. This will launch a URL box. Paste the image address in the box, then select Search by image.

    Search by image with Google Images
  5. Your results will appear in a Google Search page.

Perform a Google Reverse Image Search From the Source Picture

If you're using Google's Chrome browser, this is a really simple way of performing a reverse image search for a picture you've found online.

  1. Hover over the image you want to search and either right-click or control-click to reveal the additional options menu.

  2. Select Search Google for Image.

    Search Google for image option in web browser
  3. Chrome will launch a Google Images search in a new tab.

Sort Google Images Search Results by Time

As with any Google search, your results will likely be populated with a large volume of links and similar images, but knowing which results will help with your research is not always clear. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to refine your results.

If you anticipate you'll be selecting a lot of results or just need to compare a number of pages, it's good practice to open those links in separate tabs. To do this, right-click or control-click a link to open the additional options menu. From there, select either Open link in New Tab or Open Image in New Tab.

Ordering your results using time filters is an excellent way of sorting pages to help find the earliest instances of an image appearing on the web. It’ll also help you track any changes made to the photo over time.

Sorting results by Time doesn't necessarily display pages in the order they were published. The results will show only pages published within your selected time range. They will still be ranked by relevance.

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

  2. Select Tools.

    Google Images search results Tools button
  3. Select Time.

    Google Images search results Time button
  4. A dropdown menu will appear giving you options for filtering your results by various periods.

    Google Images Time search options
  5. The results will now be filtered to only include results from your chosen range.