Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
API Reference (API Version 2016-11-15)


Describes one or more of the EBS snapshots available to you. Available snapshots include public snapshots available for any AWS account to launch, private snapshots that you own, and private snapshots owned by another AWS account but for which you've been given explicit create volume permissions.

The create volume permissions fall into the following categories:

  • public: The owner of the snapshot granted create volume permissions for the snapshot to the all group. All AWS accounts have create volume permissions for these snapshots.

  • explicit: The owner of the snapshot granted create volume permissions to a specific AWS account.

  • implicit: An AWS account has implicit create volume permissions for all snapshots it owns.

The list of snapshots returned can be modified by specifying snapshot IDs, snapshot owners, or AWS accounts with create volume permissions. If no options are specified, Amazon EC2 returns all snapshots for which you have create volume permissions.

If you specify one or more snapshot IDs, only snapshots that have the specified IDs are returned. If you specify an invalid snapshot ID, an error is returned. If you specify a snapshot ID for which you do not have access, it is not included in the returned results.

If you specify one or more snapshot owners using the OwnerIds option, only snapshots from the specified owners and for which you have access are returned. The results can include the AWS account IDs of the specified owners, amazon for snapshots owned by Amazon, or self for snapshots that you own.

If you specify a list of restorable users, only snapshots with create snapshot permissions for those users are returned. You can specify AWS account IDs (if you own the snapshots), self for snapshots for which you own or have explicit permissions, or all for public snapshots.

If you are describing a long list of snapshots, you can paginate the output to make the list more manageable. The MaxResults parameter sets the maximum number of results returned in a single page. If the list of results exceeds your MaxResults value, then that number of results is returned along with a NextToken value that can be passed to a subsequent DescribeSnapshots request to retrieve the remaining results.

For more information about EBS snapshots, see Amazon EBS Snapshots in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud User Guide.

Request Parameters

The following parameters are for this specific action. For more information about required and optional parameters that are common to all actions, see Common Query Parameters.


Checks whether you have the required permissions for the action, without actually making the request, and provides an error response. If you have the required permissions, the error response is DryRunOperation. Otherwise, it is UnauthorizedOperation.

Type: Boolean

Required: No


One or more filters.

  • description - A description of the snapshot.

  • owner-alias - Value from an Amazon-maintained list (amazon | aws-marketplace | microsoft) of snapshot owners. Not to be confused with the user-configured AWS account alias, which is set from the IAM consolew.

  • owner-id - The ID of the AWS account that owns the snapshot.

  • progress - The progress of the snapshot, as a percentage (for example, 80%).

  • snapshot-id - The snapshot ID.

  • start-time - The time stamp when the snapshot was initiated.

  • status - The status of the snapshot (pending | completed | error).

  • tag:key=value - The key/value combination of a tag assigned to the resource. Specify the key of the tag in the filter name and the value of the tag in the filter value. For example, for the tag Purpose=X, specify tag:Purpose for the filter name and X for the filter value.

  • tag-key - The key of a tag assigned to the resource. This filter is independent of the tag-value filter. For example, if you use both the filter "tag-key=Purpose" and the filter "tag-value=X", you get any resources assigned both the tag key Purpose (regardless of what the tag's value is), and the tag value X (regardless of what the tag's key is). If you want to list only resources where Purpose is X, see the tag:key=value filter.

  • tag-value - The value of a tag assigned to the resource. This filter is independent of the tag-key filter.

  • volume-id - The ID of the volume the snapshot is for.

  • volume-size - The size of the volume, in GiB.

Type: array of Filter objects

Required: No


The maximum number of snapshot results returned by DescribeSnapshots in paginated output. When this parameter is used, DescribeSnapshots only returns MaxResults results in a single page along with a NextToken response element. The remaining results of the initial request can be seen by sending another DescribeSnapshots request with the returned NextToken value. This value can be between 5 and 1000; if MaxResults is given a value larger than 1000, only 1000 results are returned. If this parameter is not used, then DescribeSnapshots returns all results. You cannot specify this parameter and the snapshot IDs parameter in the same request.

Type: Integer

Required: No


The NextToken value returned from a previous paginated DescribeSnapshots request where MaxResults was used and the results exceeded the value of that parameter. Pagination continues from the end of the previous results that returned the NextToken value. This value is null when there are no more results to return.

Type: String

Required: No


Returns the snapshots owned by the specified owner. Multiple owners can be specified.

Type: array of Strings

Required: No


One or more AWS accounts IDs that can create volumes from the snapshot.

Type: array of Strings

Required: No


One or more snapshot IDs.

Default: Describes snapshots for which you have launch permissions.

Type: array of Strings

Required: No

Response Elements

The following elements are returned by the service.


The NextToken value to include in a future DescribeSnapshots request. When the results of a DescribeSnapshots request exceed MaxResults, this value can be used to retrieve the next page of results. This value is null when there are no more results to return.

Type: String


The ID of the request.

Type: String


Information about the snapshots.

Type: array of Snapshot objects


For information about the errors that are common to all actions, see Common Errors.



This example describes a snapshot with an ID of snap-1234567890abcdef0.

Sample Request

Copy &SnapshotId=snap-1234567890abcdef0 &AUTHPARAMS

Sample Response

<DescribeSnapshotsResponse xmlns=""> <requestId>59dbff89-35bd-4eac-99ed-be587EXAMPLE</requestId> <snapshotSet> <item> <snapshotId>snap-1234567890abcdef0</snapshotId> <volumeId>vol-1234567890abcdef0</volumeId> <status>pending</status> <startTime>YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS.SSSZ</startTime> <progress>80%</progress> <ownerId>111122223333</ownerId> <volumeSize>15</volumeSize> <description>Daily Backup</description> <encrypted>true</encrypted> <kmsKeyId>arn:aws:kms:us-east-1:123456789012:key/6876fb1b-example</kmsKeyId> <tagSet/> </item> </snapshotSet> </DescribeSnapshotsResponse>


This example filters the response to include only snapshots with the pending status, and that are also tagged with a value that includes the string db_.

Sample Request

Copy &Filter.1.Name=status &Filter.1.Value.1=pending &Filter.2.Name=tag-value &Filter.2.Value.1=*db_* &AUTHPARAMS

Sample Response

<DescribeSnapshotsResponse xmlns=""> <requestId>59dbff89-35bd-4eac-99ed-be587EXAMPLE</requestId> <snapshotSet> <item> <snapshotId>snap-1234567890abcdef0</snapshotId> <volumeId>vol-1234567890abcdef0</volumeId> <status>pending</status> <startTime>YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS.SSSZ</startTime> <progress>30%</progress> <ownerId>111122223333</ownerId> <volumeSize>15</volumeSize> <description>Daily Backup</description> <tagSet> <item> <key>Purpose</key> <value>demo_db_14_backup</value> </item> </tagSet> <encrypted>true</encrypted> <kmsKeyId>arn:aws:kms:us-east-1:123456789012:key/6876fb1b-example</kmsKeyId> </item> </snapshotSet> </DescribeSnapshotsResponse>

See Also

For more information about using this API in one of the language-specific AWS SDKs, see the following: