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


Describes one or more of the images (AMIs, AKIs, and ARIs) available to you. Images available to you include public images, private images that you own, and private images owned by other AWS accounts but for which you have explicit launch permissions.


Deregistered images are included in the returned results for an unspecified interval after deregistration.

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


Scopes the images by users with explicit launch permissions. Specify an AWS account ID, self (the sender of the request), or all (public AMIs).

Type: Array of strings

Required: No


One or more filters.

  • architecture - The image architecture (i386 | x86_64).

  • block-device-mapping.delete-on-termination - A Boolean value that indicates whether the Amazon EBS volume is deleted on instance termination.

  • block-device-mapping.device-name - The device name specified in the block device mapping (for example, /dev/sdh or xvdh).

  • block-device-mapping.snapshot-id - The ID of the snapshot used for the EBS volume.

  • block-device-mapping.volume-size - The volume size of the EBS volume, in GiB.

  • block-device-mapping.volume-type - The volume type of the EBS volume (gp2 | io1 | st1 | sc1 | standard).

  • description - The description of the image (provided during image creation).

  • ena-support - A Boolean that indicates whether enhanced networking with ENA is enabled.

  • hypervisor - The hypervisor type (ovm | xen).

  • image-id - The ID of the image.

  • image-type - The image type (machine | kernel | ramdisk).

  • is-public - A Boolean that indicates whether the image is public.

  • kernel-id - The kernel ID.

  • manifest-location - The location of the image manifest.

  • name - The name of the AMI (provided during image creation).

  • owner-alias - String 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 console.

  • owner-id - The AWS account ID of the image owner.

  • platform - The platform. To only list Windows-based AMIs, use windows.

  • product-code - The product code.

  • product-code.type - The type of the product code (devpay | marketplace).

  • ramdisk-id - The RAM disk ID.

  • root-device-name - The device name of the root device volume (for example, /dev/sda1).

  • root-device-type - The type of the root device volume (ebs | instance-store).

  • state - The state of the image (available | pending | failed).

  • state-reason-code - The reason code for the state change.

  • state-reason-message - The message for the state change.

  • sriov-net-support - A value of simple indicates that enhanced networking with the Intel 82599 VF interface is enabled.

  • tag:<key> - The key/value combination of a tag assigned to the resource. Use the tag key in the filter name and the tag value as the filter value. For example, to find all resources that have a tag with the key Owner and the value TeamA, specify tag:Owner for the filter name and TeamA for the filter value.

  • tag-key - The key of a tag assigned to the resource. Use this filter to find all resources assigned a tag with a specific key, regardless of the tag value.

  • virtualization-type - The virtualization type (paravirtual | hvm).

Type: Array of Filter objects

Required: No


One or more image IDs.

Default: Describes all images available to you.

Type: Array of strings

Required: No


Filters the images by the owner. Specify an AWS account ID, self (owner is the sender of the request), or an AWS owner alias (valid values are amazon | aws-marketplace | microsoft). Omitting this option returns all images for which you have launch permissions, regardless of ownership.

Type: Array of strings

Required: No

Response Elements

The following elements are returned by the service.


Information about one or more images.

Type: Array of Image objects


The ID of the request.

Type: String


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


Example 1

This example describes the specified AMI.

Sample Request &ImageId.1=ami-be3adfd7 &AUTHPARAMS

Sample Response

<DescribeImagesResponse xmlns=""> <requestId>59dbff89-35bd-4eac-99ed-be587EXAMPLE</requestId> <imagesSet> <item> <imageId>ami-1a2b3c4d</imageId> <imageLocation>amazon/getting-started</imageLocation> <imageState>available</imageState> <imageOwnerId>123456789012</imageOwnerId> <isPublic>true</isPublic> <architecture>i386</architecture> <imageType>machine</imageType> <kernelId>aki-1a2b3c4d</kernelId> <ramdiskId>ari-1a2b3c4d</ramdiskId> <imageOwnerAlias>amazon</imageOwnerAlias> <name>getting-started</name> <description>Image Description</description> <rootDeviceType>ebs</rootDeviceType> <rootDeviceName>/dev/sda</rootDeviceName> <blockDeviceMapping> <item> <deviceName>/dev/sda1</deviceName> <ebs> <snapshotId>snap-1234567890abcdef0</snapshotId> <volumeSize>15</volumeSize> <deleteOnTermination>false</deleteOnTermination> <volumeType>standard</volumeType> </ebs> </item> </blockDeviceMapping> <virtualizationType>paravirtual</virtualizationType> <tagSet/> <hypervisor>xen</hypervisor> </item> </imagesSet> </DescribeImagesResponse>

Example 2

This example filters the response to include only public Windows images with an x86_64 architecture.

Sample Request &Filter.1.Name=is-public &Filter.1.Value.1=true &Filter.2.Name=architecture &Filter.2.Value.1=x86_64 &Filter.3.Name=platform &Filter.3.Value.1=windows &AUTHPARAMS

Sample Response

<DescribeImagesResponse xmlns=""> <requestId>59dbff89-35bd-4eac-99ed-be587EXAMPLE</requestId> <imagesSet> <item> <imageId>ami-1a2b3c4d</imageId> <imageLocation>ec2-public-windows-images/Server2003r2-x86_64-Win-v1.07.manifest.xml</imageLocation> <imageState>available</imageState> <imageOwnerId>123456789012</imageOwnerId> <isPublic>true</isPublic> <architecture>x86_64</architecture> <imageType>machine</imageType> <platform>windows</platform> <imageOwnerAlias>amazon</imageOwnerAlias> <rootDeviceType>instance-store</rootDeviceType> <blockDeviceMapping/> <virtualizationType>hvm</virtualizationType> <tagSet/> <hypervisor>xen</hypervisor> </item> ... </imagesSet> </DescribeImagesResponse>

Example 3

This example returns the results to display images where the owner is aws-marketplace.

Sample Request &Owner.1=aws-marketplace &AUTHPARAMS

Sample Response

<DescribeImagesResponse xmlns=""> <requestId>4a4a27a2-2e7c-475d-b35b-ca822EXAMPLE</requestId> <imagesSet> <item> <imageId>ami-1a2b3c4d</imageId> <imageLocation>aws-marketplace/example-marketplace-amzn-ami.1</imageLocation> <imageState>available</imageState> <imageOwnerId>123456789012</imageOwnerId> <isPublic>true</isPublic> <productCodes> <item> <productCode>a1b2c3d4e5f6g7h8i9j10k11</productCode> <type>marketplace</type> </item> </productCodes> <architecture>i386</architecture> <imageType>machine</imageType> <kernelId>aki-1a2b3c4d</kernelId> <imageOwnerAlias>aws-marketplace</imageOwnerAlias> <name>example-marketplace-amzn-ami.1</name> <description>Amazon Linux AMI i386 EBS</description> <rootDeviceType>ebs</rootDeviceType> <rootDeviceName>/dev/sda1</rootDeviceName> <blockDeviceMapping> <item> <deviceName>/dev/sda1</deviceName> <ebs> <snapshotId>snap-1234567890abcdef0</snapshotId> <volumeSize>8</volumeSize> <deleteOnTermination>true</deleteOnTermination> </ebs> </item> </blockDeviceMapping> <virtualizationType>paravirtual</virtualizationType> <hypervisor>xen</hypervisor> </item> ... </imagesSet> </DescribeImagesResponse>

See Also

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