Blocking Google Images

Learn how to block images in Google's image search.

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated April 4, 2024

Google Images is a useful tool when it comes to finding content on the internet. Unfortunately, it doesn't always provide useful content, and it's possible to find adult content while using that search engine feature. For this reason, it is helpful to know how to block google images.

There are techniques that can be used to limit the features of Google Images or block it entirely. These techniques can be layered together to make a much more secure defense. 

When preparing these techniques, it is strongly recommended to limit as much as possible. For example, if you do not use Google Images at all, it is better to block it completely. If you do need to use Google Images, there are ways to limit the options provided, and as a result, reduce the opportunities to be accidentally exposed to sensitive content online.

Force SafeSearch on Google

One of the most effective ways to filter results in Google Images is to force SafeSearch. Enabling SafeSearch will remove most explicit images from Google Image Search so that you can still search for images.

Most devices make it relatively easy to turn on, however, enforcing SafeSearch on a device is a bit more complicated.

In general, there are two main options that are effective for a device:

  1. DNS Filtering
  2. Hosts file

Forcing Safe Search on Google Using a DNS Filter

The most comprehensive solution is to use a DNS Filtering service to automatically enable Google Image SafeSearch on many different devices. You can configure DNS Filtering on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices.

Not only will Safe Search for Google be much easier to set up, but also many DNS Filters can force Safe Search on other search engines as well.

The DNS Filter provided by Tech Lockdown allows you to turn on SafeSearch for any device using the DNS Filtering service by toggling on the "Enforce SafeSearch" category.

As a bonus, this filtering will block unsupported search engines. It can also be used to filter an entire network to provide comprehensive protection.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Forcing Safe Search for Google Chrome by using the Hosts File

One of the most basic, (yet surprisingly effective) ways to protect a device from explicit content exposure is to enable safe search. There are a couple of ways to go about doing this, with the simplest way being using the Chrome settings . While changing the SafeSearch options in Chrome settings works, there are much more effective ways to enforce protection.

In order to enforce SafeSearch with the Hosts File, add these entries to your file:

# Google SafeSearch

Another option that you might try is to prevent Google Image search from displaying thumbnails. This is a bit more advanced, as it is a step above simply forcing SafeSearch. However, it can be a very powerful option, especially if you have DNS filtering on your home network

Blocking Image Previews on Google Image Search with a DNS Filtering Service

If you are using a service like Tech Lockdown, there will usually be an option add custom domains to a blocklist.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering

Set up filtering on all your devices and prevent common bypass techniques.

Blocking Image Preview on Google Images with the Hosts File

You can use the hosts file to block websites on a computer . Similar to using a DNS service, there are certain domains that you can block that will prevent image thumbnails on image search from appearing. 

# Google Images
It is important to note that the domains used by Google to serve their images might change over time. The best way to ensure that your online content is filtered is to use SafeSearch. 

Blocking Google Images with a Blocking App

Another option for blocking Google Images (or any other website) is to use a blocking application. If you want to enforce these settings, you can use a blocking application like Cold Turkey to restrict access to your browser's settings page.

This tutorial will assume that Cold Turkey has already been properly installed.

When you switch from a standard Google search to Google image search, the URL should change to include &tbm=isch

If you want to block Google image search entirely, you can create a block like this to target image search specifically:


Ban Porn from your technology

Regain Control with Effective Content Blocking and Bypass Prevention

Disable Image Search on Chrome

One technique for increased protection is to disable certain features of the search engine. Many features can lead to an unintentional exposure to explicit content. For example, by disabling JavaScript, you can ensure the basic functionality for Image Search, while disabling non-necessary features. 

Learn more about how to effectively block content and prevent bypass in our step-by-step guides.

Final Thoughts

This guide has gone over techniques for limiting image search. While not a complete solution to sensitive content online, it does provide an added layer of protection. 

The best approach is to limit what isn't necessary. If you don't need to use Google Images, it is probably best to remove that source of temptation. Hopefully, these techniques can be a useful tool to lockdown your devices.

Did you know that you can block YouTube thumbnails ? If you're curious, check out our guide for How to filter content on YouTube .

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