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How to do Instagram Image Search?

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By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Drive 20-40% of your revenue with Avada
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Unlike other huge platforms like Facebook or Twitter, Instagram does not allow you to search for images. So what happens if you want to find someone immediately on Instagram?

Luckily, there are always ways to get over the difficulties, and you still can probably find a specific profile by a photo via a technique called Instagram Reverse Image Search.

This article will show you a step-by-step guide to do an Instagram image search on desktop and mobile. Also, you will be provided with tips to trace out your stolen Instagram images and track the offenders.

Generally, the Instagram image search is used for two purposes:

Reason 1: To find an Instagram profile of a person by a photo

The purposes are diverse. One of those is when you are to find someone by an image. For example, when you randomly see a beautiful boy or girl on the Internet and want to know their profiles using your only picture, you can follow these steps below to do the Instagram image search.

Another instance is that you want to reconnect with your childhood friends without any hints except for some photos of them. Then you can use this guide to search for their information.

Reason 2: To track the plagiarism

The second case is when you are about to detect some offenders. However impossible it seems to be, people still can discover ways to do an Instagram image search. This means pictures created and posted by you to your personal account can be copied and used in other resources without your permission. Although Instagram doesn’t let us download pictures directly, the explanation for this plagiarism is the flagrant misuse of the ‘screenshot-and-crop’ trick.

All of the users can be a victim of Image Plagiarism
All of the users can be a victim of Image Plagiarism

All of the users can be a victim of Image Plagiarism. However, this case happens typically with Instagram content creators or photographers who spend much time and effort on each image. To protect your photos from being copied when you haven’t approved it explicitly, you can do an Instagram image search using some simple techniques mentioned later.

The solution is that you need an image search engine using the best reverse image search methods. Now, we will gather the most powerful and suitable ones to search more quickly on desktop and mobile.

How to do Instagram image search on desktop?

The general basis of it is a technology called Reverse Image Search. It is simple yet powerful for us to find the source of the photo. By this work, you can discover similar images to your photos from the Internet. You upload the images to the searching engine, and the engine will give you the results of like images from around the web. Those related images will go along with the source. If the URL is from Instagram, you can find the user and more detailed information corresponding to the profile. Here are a couple of methods to do Instagram image searches on desktop.

The first option is super easy, which is “Google them out.” Google image search is also the most common tool used widely by many users. Here are simple steps:

Step 1: First, install the extension Downloader for Instagram on Google Chrome and download any Instagram photo online

Step 2: Upload a photo on your PC/MAC

Step 3: Visit Google Pictures by going to images.google.com

Step 4: Click on the icon of Search by image. It is a small camera which is right along the search bar

Step 5: Upload the photo that you wish to search from your device storage or paste its URL

Step 6: Click Search or hit Enter to see the results

Google them out!
Google them out!

Google will give you the answer of every picture that matches your image online. You will be provided with the full database to find an Instagram profile or plagiarism by using the resources in which your copyrighted images have been used. On plus point for Google image search is that it offers links for original photos with both Medium and Large versions linking to the Instagram photo.

Google is used by millions of people, which means that the searching results will be much broader. You will find it easier to track for plagiarism possibilities or profiles you need. It is also the biggest advantage of Google out of other search engines.

Social catfish

Social catfish is a qualified finding engine that helps you find people and verify identities. To do Social catfish image search, you should:

  • Go to Social catfish homepage
  • Click on the Image at the center
  • Upload images that you wish to find
  • Click on the Search button and wait for the results
Social catfish: Find people, Verify identities
Social catfish: Find people, Verify identities

Social catfish is said to be an effective tool because it analyzes image resolution, location, size, metadata, and facial recognition to bring about more precise photos.

However, good quality does pay. This engine costs you $27 per month to use. Therefore, if you have a huge desire to search for a profile or track the plagiarism case, you should consider Social catfish due to its accurate results.


If you are looking for a free engine with a fast searching process, Tineye is an ideal choice. Being a well-establish and secure service, Tineye also provides simple using steps:

  • Go to Tineye Homepage
  • Click on arrow up and upload a photo or paste its URL

The search will be automatical and you will get the results of related images and hosted sites in less than a minute. Instead of basing on keywords, metadata, or EXIF information, Tineye focuses directly on image detection technology.

Nevertheless, Tineye is specialized for rev image searching only. It has its own image searching algorithm which is known as perceptual hashing. Tineye uses it to create a hash from the sample image.


Bing is also a tool with a similar feature of searching for related pictures using a random Instagram image.

If you just want to track for plagiarism possibilities and do not know whether this photo has already been stolen or not, don’t worry about the chances users can discover it. It is because Bing images are hosted anonymously and will be automatically deleted from the web.


How we use Yandex is totally the same as what we did with Google. First, you should go to Yandex Images website and translate the page because it is a Russian search engine. Then, click on the icon of a small camera next to the search bar and upload the image which you wish to search.

Yandex’s superior reverse image search capabilities
Yandex’s superior reverse image search capabilities

It is not as popular as Google, but the capabilities of Yandex’s reverse image search are superior to those of Google Images. Using Yandex, you will have more chances to find an exact profile because it focuses on visual similarity.


The last option we want to suggest is Pixsy. Although it is not much different from other utilities and used by fewer people, Pixsy is beneficial when you are about to check plagiarism possibilities. Not only does it perform corresponding images but Pixsy also provides you with appropriate action against the offenders re-using your photos.

Screenshots of Pixsy at work
Screenshots of Pixsy at work

How to do Instagram image search on mobile?

Search by image on iPhone with Safari

If you are an IOS user, you can use Safari to search reverse images. It is recommended as the default and the preferred web browser for iPhone. Still, other popular third-party browsers can be used instead such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Search by image on iPhone with Safari
Search by image on iPhone with Safari

*To search by image on Safari, follow these steps below:

Step 1: Open Safari on iPhone. At the bottom of the screen, touch the “Share” icon. Step 2: Select “Request Desktop Site” in the coming window Step 3: Tab the “Camera” icon. Then, two options appear which are “Paste the URL of the image” and “Directly download the image from iPhone” Step 4.1: Select the first option, you should paste the URL of the image you wish to search for Step 4.2: Tab the second option and select “Choose File” in case the image is in your iPhone storage Step 5: Finally, you can choose “Take Photo or Video” (Take a photo) or “Photo Library”

Reverse image search applications for iPhone

On the other hand, you can install third-party applications as an alternative to make it easier to do image searches.


It is a simple app that seems to be an intermediary between pictures from the device storage and some other search engines mentioned earlier like Google Images, Bing, or Yandex. Moreover, you can crop or rotate images by using its editor so that the app can do better in analyzing facial data.


It is a very common search app that is supported by CloudSight image recognition technology. With its integrated camera interface, IOS users can take photos and search for images thanks to the built-in search engine.

Other methods to find a person on Instagram

Searching through hashtags: It is the main searching driver on Instagram. Try to guess and enter a tag that seems to describe a person you are looking for. It may be their interests, routines, styles, etc. Also, you can probably use the Ingramer hashtag generator to find the best ones

Instagram hashtags are used as a searching tool
Instagram hashtags are used as a searching tool

Searching through locations: This method is used when you already know where they live. Or else, you can again, guess where they have just traveled or been to. It works pretty well if the person you wish to search for did attach geotags to their current posts.

How are your Instagram photos plagiarized and how to avoid it?

Causes of image plagiarism

Have you ever wondered why the need for reverse image search on Instagram arises? It is not just to find a random profile but to do plagiarism. Before learning how to protect your images, let’s look at the root of the problem. There are two causes behind:

  • Direct cause: Someone has a strong desire to own can re-use your photos, especially when those photos are of high quality. Therefore, they can spend time and effort looking for your images and take a screenshot. Though Instagram does not allow users to download photos like other social media platforms, one still can take a quick screenshot of the image and then crop or edit to turn it into theirs.
The flagrant misuse of ‘screenshot-and-crop’ trick
The flagrant misuse of ‘screenshot-and-crop’ trick
  • Indirect cause: One can search engines or third-party apps indexing your photos. As long as your images have been indexed, they are not yours anymore. When they are not private, everyone on the globe can see it via searching engines, which means anyone can steal those photos.

Ways to avoid image plagiarism

Once you use social media and post your personal information and pictures on it, you should be responsible to protect those data. Searching by photos is the method of finding out the plagiarism. You need to concern about copyrights and privacy settings before things get beyond the control. Being sorry and regretful in this unfortunate case is unnecessary.

You can avoid such problems by some tips below:

  • Firstly, remember to set a watermark on your photos before publishing online if you are about to protect them. It is the easiest and most efficient method to claim your complete copyrights. However, be careful because people still have ways to edit and delete watermarks out of photos by using photo editors like Adobe Photoshop or Polarr.
  • The second tip is also easy to do, which is making your Instagram account private. It is recommended with all social media platforms. In this way, only reliable people can access and see your photos. They are followers who you approved. However, it may not be a suitable option if you actively promote your account because your photos will reach fewer users when you set the privacy mode. Even pictures with hashtags will appear only to your followers.
  • The third solution is used when you are on the web version of Instagram. Let’s do cross-check the list of authorized applications accessing your account API (Application Programming Interface). Then, access to any suspicious app will be revoked right away.
Tips to avoid image plagiarism
Tips to avoid image plagiarism

But what if you have tried all the methods mentioned above and still get plagiarized? If you’ve found the offenders, you should first order them to remove your images instantly. However, not every image plagiarism cases happen in that easy way and some offenders will refuse to get rid of copyrighted photos. Don’t worry because Instagram has its own copyright policies helping you if this attempt fails.

You can report them directly to Instagram. In order to report, you can fill in its copyright report form. This is a very convenient way since the form is available. Also, you can contact the Instagram agent for help or protection of copyrights.

The contact is attached here:

  • Instagram, LLC
  • Attn: Instagram Designated Agent
  • 1601 Willow Road
  • Menlo Park, California 94025
  • 650.543.4800 (phone)
  • [email protected]


So, the post above does explain the basis of reverse image search for Insragram. Despite having no direct measure to search for the image source of Instagram, there are still techniques for us to get through. Remember our posted photos can probably be copied without our accurate written consent. Therefore, let’s do an Instagram image search for appropriate purposes.

We hope this article is helpful to you. Do comment below and share if you find this post beneficial or if you have any questions. Go and find what you are looking for. Good luck!

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.