The new trick to downloading Google images

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It used to be easy to just search Google for an image and download that full size image to your computer. Google changed their image download process a while ago, and it’s not quite as obvious how to get those full size images saved. But you can still do it! Here’s how.

Google images


Note: what you do with the images you download from Google is your business. I’m trusting that whether you’re using them on your blog, your website, your podcast cover art, or wherever, that you are only using images with the proper permission or licensing.

Remember the good old days – grabbing a high-res image from Google was super easy! You just did a search at, and you were presented with a million beautiful pictures to choose from. You just clicked on the thumbnail, and right there in front of you was the full size image, ready for your right-click and “Save As” to have it on your computer. No more!

Google made this change because photo websites and professional photographers were tired of Google making it so easy for people to steal their images. So they made the process less intuitive, and they also made it more likely the anyone searching for a photo would actually end up on the website where the photo is displayed (which in some cases means you have to then go searching for the photo – the photo you already found on Google – on that website). This is good for the photo owners, but really inconvenient for the user who needs a photo.

In the steps below, I’ll show you the problem, and then I’ll show you the workaround.

Let’s say for example you want a nice high-resolution picture of a Tesla automobile.

You go to Google Images and type “tesla” in the search bar. And Google comes back with lots of great looking images of Teslas:

Google image search results


So far so good. You look at all the thumbnails, and you decide you like the red one in the top row. So you click on it. Now you see this – the thumbnail selection is still there, but the one you chose is now highlighted and displayed on the left. But that’s not the full size image. The actual image is nice and big – 2048 x 1335 pixels.

If you just click on the picture, it takes you to the Tesla Wikipedia page. If you scroll halfway down that long page, you’ll see the image – but it’s still not shown full size. In fact, it’s even smaller than when you saw it in the Google search results!

Here’s what you do – 

Do a RIGHT click on the image, then choose “Copy image address”. That means you’ll have the actual website address for the IMAGE, not just the website that is using the image.

Google image address


Now, open a new tab and hit Ctrl + V (the keyboard shortcut for Paste). When you hit Enter, guess what you see – the full size, full resolution image!

full size image


Now you can right click and download, or copy it into Photoshop, or do whatever you need to do with it.

So there are a couple more steps involved now, but once you’ve done it a few times, it’s not a huge inconvenience.

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