How to check if a Docker image with a specific tag exist locally?

I'd like to find out if a Docker image with a specific tag exists locally. I'm fine by using a bash script if the Docker client cannot do this natively.

Just to provide some hints for a potential bash script the result of running the docker images command returns the following:

REPOSITORY                               TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             VIRTUAL SIZE
rabbitmq                                 latest              e8e654c05c91        5 weeks ago         143.5 MB
busybox                                  latest              8c2e06607696        6 weeks ago         2.433 MB
rabbitmq                                 3.4.4               a4fbaad9f996        11 weeks ago        131.5 MB


I usually test the result of docker images -q (as in this script):

if [[ "$(docker images -q myimage:mytag 2> /dev/null)" == "" ]]; then
  # do something

But since docker images only takes REPOSITORY as parameter, you would need to grep on tag, without using -q.

docker images takes tags now (docker 1.8+) [REPOSITORY[:TAG]]

The other approach mentioned below is to use docker inspect. But with docker 17+, the syntax for images is: docker image inspect (on an non-existent image, the exit status will be non-0)

Try docker inspect, for example:

$ docker inspect --type=image treeder/hello.rb:nada
Error: No such image: treeder/hello.rb:nada

But now with an image that exists, you'll get a bunch of information, eg:

$ docker inspect --type=image treeder/hello.rb:latest
    "Id": "85c5116a2835521de2c52f10ab5dda0ff002a4a12aa476c141aace9bc67f43ad",
    "Parent": "ecf63f5eb5e89e5974875da3998d72abc0d3d0e4ae2354887fffba037b356ad5",
    "Comment": "",
    "Created": "2015-09-23T22:06:38.86684783Z",

And it's in a nice json format.

You can use like the following:

[ ! -z $(docker images -q someimage:sometag) ] || echo "does not exist"


[ -z $(docker images -q someimage:sometag) ] || echo "already exists"


docker image inspect myimage:mytag

By way of demonstration...

success, found image:

$ docker image pull busybox:latest
latest: Pulling from library/busybox
Digest: sha256:32f093055929dbc23dec4d03e09dfe971f5973a9ca5cf059cbfb644c206aa83f
Status: Image is up to date for busybox:latest

$ docker image inspect busybox:latest >/dev/null 2>&1 && echo yes || echo no

failure, missing image:

$ docker image rm busybox:latest
Untagged: busybox:latest
Untagged: busybox@sha256:32f093055929dbc23dec4d03e09dfe971f5973a9ca5cf059cbfb644c206aa83f

$ docker image inspect busybox:latest >/dev/null 2>&1 && echo yes || echo no


With the help of Vonc's answer above I created the following bash script named

image_and_tag_array=(${image_and_tag//:/ })
if [[ "$(docker images ${image_and_tag_array[0]} | grep ${image_and_tag_array[1]} 2> /dev/null)" != "" ]]; then
  echo "exists"
  echo "doesn't exist"

Using it for an existing image and tag will print exists, for example:

./ rabbitmq:3.4.4

Using it for a non-existing image and tag will print doesn't exist, for example:

./ rabbitmq:3.4.3

Using test

if test ! -z "$(docker images -q <name:tag>)"; then
  echo "Exist"

or in one line

test ! -z "$(docker images -q <name:tag>)" &&  echo exist

In case you are trying to search for a docker image from a docker registry, I guess the easiest way to check if a docker image is present is by using the Docker V2 REST API Tags list service


curl $CURLOPTS -H "Authorization: Bearer $token" ""

if the above result returns 200Ok with a list of image tags, then we know that image exists


else if you see something like

{"errors":[{"code":"NAME_UNKNOWN","message":"repository name not known to registry","detail":{"name":"your-repo-name"}}]} 

then you know for sure that image doesn't exist.

Just a bit from me to very good readers:

#!/bin/bash -e
docker build -t smpp-gateway smpp
(if  [ $(docker ps -a | grep smpp-gateway | cut -d " " -f1) ]; then \
  echo $(docker rm -f smpp-gateway); \
else \
  echo OK; \
docker run --restart always -d --network="host" --name smpp-gateway smpp-gateway:latest
docker logs --tail 50 --follow --timestamps smpp-gateway
sudo docker exec -it \
$(sudo docker ps | grep "smpp-gateway:latest" | cut -d " " -f1) \

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