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About DescribeSnapshots

Describes the specified EBS snapshots available to you or all of the EBS snapshots available to you.

The snapshots available to you include public snapshots, private snapshots that you own, and private snapshots owned by other Amazon Web Services accounts for which you have 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 Amazon Web Services accounts have create volume permissions for these snapshots.

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

  • implicit: An Amazon Web Services account has implicit create volume permissions for all snapshots it owns.

The list of snapshots returned can be filtered by specifying snapshot IDs, snapshot owners, or Amazon Web Services 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 Amazon Web Services 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 Amazon Web Services 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, we recommend that you paginate the output to make the list more manageable. For more information, see Pagination.

To get the state of fast snapshot restores for a snapshot, use DescribeFastSnapshotRestores.

For more information about EBS snapshots, see Amazon EBS snapshots in the Amazon EBS User Guide.

We strongly recommend using only paginated requests. Unpaginated requests are susceptible to throttling and timeouts.

Method Signature


Optional arguments:


The filters.

  • description - A description of the snapshot.

  • encrypted - Indicates whether the snapshot is encrypted (true | false)

  • owner-alias - The owner alias, from an Amazon-maintained list
    (amazon). This is not the user-configured Amazon Web Services account alias set using the IAM console. We recommend that you use the related parameter instead of this filter.

  • owner-id - The Amazon Web Services account ID of the owner. We recommend that you use the related parameter instead of this filter.

  • 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).

  • storage-tier - The storage tier of the snapshot (archive | standard).

  • tag: - 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.

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

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


The maximum number of items to return for this request. To get the next page of items, make another request with the token returned in the output. For more information, see Pagination.


The token returned from a previous paginated request. Pagination continues from the end of the items returned by the previous request.


Scopes the results to snapshots with the specified owners. You can specify a combination of Amazon Web Services account IDs, self, and amazon.


The IDs of the Amazon Web Services accounts that can create volumes from the snapshot.


The snapshot IDs.

Default: Describes the snapshots for which you have create volume permissions.


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.