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How can I use my smartphone to verify photos?

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We don’t always sit in front of a computer when we see pictures that ring alarm bells. Maybe the photo makes you happy, angry or sad and the caption tells you to share it far and wide. But the story may be too good to be true, and you’re right to want to check it out. Here’s how to verify and trace a photo to its origin using just your smartphone.

If you have a computer handy and want to verify an image that way, check out this guide.

You can find many useful apps to verify images in the Google Play Store (for Android) or the Apple Store (for iPhone). View some examples by clicking here or here.

Watch in the video below how we were able to trace the origin of a photo suspected of showing terrorists arrested in Mali in less than 30 seconds.


We’ll show you how to verify an image using another example. Take this photo which shows a woman threatening a police officer who points a gun at a man on the ground. The caption says the photo shows a woman in the Dominican Republic protecting her son from a police officer. The story is moving and the photo is powerful – high quality and well framed (maybe too well framed). That makes us a little suspicious.

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To verify the photo, start by downloading the app of your choice by searching for the keywords “reverse image search” in the Google Play Store, Apple Store or online app store of your choice.

Once you’ve opened the app on your phone, you can select the appropriate image from your image gallery.

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Then upload the photo to the search engine of your choice. Here, Yandex was able to immediately identify the photo in question: it is a screenshot of a scene from the 2013 movie “Christo Rey”.

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Google Lens, a great tool for quick verification

One of the best applications for performing a reverse image search on a smartphone is Google Lens. With the application you can easily crop a photo and search for a specific part of it, for example a building in the background.

Google Lens often returns more interesting results than simple reverse image searches through Google Images.

Check out below an example of how we used Google Lens with an image of US First Lady Jill Biden in the episode of Truth or Fake.


How can I verify a video with my phone?

There are as yet no reliable applications that make it possible to verify a video from your phone.

If you want to learn more about verifying a video, check out our tutorial. However, you need a computer to perform these searches.

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