How can I check if an Image has an alpha channel?

"What have you tried?"

  • AlphaChannel and ColorSeparate[..., "A"] return a result even if the image had no explicit alpha channel.

  • We could check the number of results from ColorSeparate or ImageChannels, but that also depends on ColorSpace, which may also be a ColorProfileData object (for which it isn't clear how to determine the number of expected channels).


3 Answers 3


I just discovered this command (in the Properties and Relations sections of the AlphaChannel command)

ImageMeasurements[img, "Transparency"]

It returns True if there is an alpha channel and False otherwise.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's a weird place to put this functionality, isn't it? It relies on Image`ImageInformation which is a much more natural name for something like this. "Measurement" implies work/computation. Of course it was in the AlphaChannel documentation, so this is the kind of question that usually gets closed as "easily (?) found in the documentation". $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Oct 9, 2017 at 22:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was surprised at the whole ImageMeasurements command. It seems like an odd complement to ComponentMeasurements (which also takes images as input). $\endgroup$
    – bill s
    Oct 9, 2017 at 23:04

How about this:

RemoveAlphaChannel[img] == img

If img has no alpha channel, this returns True, but returns False if img has an alpha channel.

SetAlphaChannel[img] == img

seems to work too, but with the reverse logic.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This works. What I don't love about it is that the performance depends on the image size. There should be a constant time way. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Oct 9, 2017 at 21:34

As of V12, Information can return this:

enter image description here

Information[ExampleData[{"TestImage", "Lena"}], "Transparency"]

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