by Anthony 

May 23, 2022

It’s often useful to be able to search Google using an image rather than just text. This is often referred to as a reverse image search. It may be an image you’ve found on the internet or one you’ve taken yourself. I use it all the time when I’m out shopping. If I find a pair of sneakers I like, I’ll try them on in the shop then search an image of them in Google to see if I can find them cheaper online.

In this post we’ll run through doing a Google image search firstly using an image taken from the Internet and then using a photo taken using your camera. I’ll describe how to do it on iPhone first, then Android, before finishing by searching images on a PC and Mac. 

How To Search An Image On IPhone

By far the easiest way to do this on a mobile phone is to use Google Lens, which for iPhone users, requires you to download the Google App from the app store. Simply search for Google and it should be the first option that pops up in your list - ignoring the ad at the top of the page. Just to note the Google app is completely separate from Google Chrome, so if you already have Chrome you will still need to download the Google app for this to work.

The Google App for iPhone

Having installed and opened the app, you’ll notice it looks exactly like any other browser, and that’s because it is - except there's no address bar. You use the search bar rather than the address bar to browse and navigate to websites.

You can search any image you stumble across, like this one, by long pressing on the image. This will bring up the menu option to ‘Search Inside the Image’, which will activate Google Lens.

Search any image using Google Lens
Use Search Inside Image to activate Google Lens

How To Use Google Lens

Google Lens will then highlight prominent features in the image using dots and a focus box. When you click on one of the dots or the focus box, Google will return search results based on that part of the image. If the results aren’t helpful, you can adjust the sides of the focus box to refresh the search or move the box altogether to focus on another element of the image.

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Some images, like those in Google’s Image gallery, don’t require a long press on the image to activate Google Lens. These images will have the Google Lens icon in the corner, which you can click on to activate the feature. As before, use the dots and focus box to get search results based on the image.

Click on the Google Lens icon in Google Images

You can also use the Google app to search photos taken using your camera or saved to your photo library. This is how I compare the price of items when I’m out shopping. 

Back on the Google app home screen, click on the camera icon to the right of the search box and give the app permission to use your camera. Point your phone at the thing you want to search for and press the search button to bring up Google’s search results. 

Activate Google Lens

Here you can see Google immediately returns results for my Ikea lamp. To access your library and search an existing photo you’ve taken, click on the icon to the left of the search button and give the app permission to access your photos.

Take a photo in Google Lens

How To Search An Image In Safari

If you’re browsing in a completely different app - say Safari - and find an image you want to search for, again long press on the image and this time choose Share, followed by Copy. This will copy the URL or web address of the image to your clipboard. Then simply switch back to the Google app and paste the url of the image into the search box. Google will locate the image and, as before, long press to activate Google Lens.

Share an image in Safari

How To Search An Image On Android

For Android users there’s no need to download an additional app, since Google Lens is already baked into the Android operating system. To initiate a search using your camera or a photo from your gallery, simply click on the lens icon to the right of the Google search bar and, again, point it at the item you wish to search.

How to access search an image on Android

Hit the search button and Google brings up results based on the image. If you want to search a photo you’ve already taken, click on the icon to the left of the button to select the photo from your photo gallery.

Alternatively, if you open a photo directly from the photos app, you can access Google Lens from the menu. From there you can click on ‘search’ to get results in the chrome browser.

How to access Google Lens

Doing a Google search on an image you find on the internet is just as easy. You can use the search bar to initiate your search then, having found an image you wish to search, like with iPhone, long press on the image and choose ‘Search Image with Google Lens’. 

This will activate Google Len and Google will bring back results based on what’s currently in focus. Adjust the focus box to update the search results or alternatively select one of the other objects in the photo by clicking on the dots. Here you can see the search results are now based on the flower in the image rather than the dog.

Search an image using Google Lens

If you are searching images in Google Images, you can see the images already have the Google Lens icon, which you can use instead of accessing the long press menu.

How To Search An Image On Windows and Mac

The Google Lens search feature is also available in the Chrome browser for PC and Mac. Having found an image on the Internet you wish to search, simply right- click on it and choose ‘Search Image with Google Lens’. The Google lens app will open to the right of the browser window and, as with mobile, you can adjust the focus box or click the dots to update the search. Once you are happy, click on the search button to bring back results based on the image.

Active Google Lens in Chrome

If you use Safari instead of Chrome, navigate to images.google.com and click on the camera icon. Then, if you already have a photo you wish to search, simply drag and drop the photo onto your browser like so to display the results. Alternatively, if the image is on the internet, right click on the image, choose Copy Image Address and then paste the address into the search box. 

How to search an image in Safari

So that is how to search an image on Google.

If you found this post useful, you might also be interested in learning how to use Incognito mode on Chrome properly or how to encrypt your Gmail emails. Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for lots more tips and tricks on all your favorite apps.

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