Upload a file with $http.post in AngularJS 1.5.5

05/07/20161 Min Read — In Angular

Recently I was porting a jQuery Bootstrap file upload over to an Angular 1.5.5 modal and ran into an issue when I tried to upload a file with $http.post in AngularJS. Essentially I was able to receive all of my form data on the server except for my file. The main gotcha in this scenario is that we are submitting our data via an AJAX POST request instead of a form submit. This is problematic because the Content-Type of the post will come through as application/json which the server will interpret incorrectly. Needless to say, the default implementation of $http.post() does not handle this well. Here is a trick I used to allow the server to receive the file as part of my model.

$scope.upload = function() {
var model = {
firstName: $scope.userModel.firstName,
lastName: $scope.userModel.lastName,
profilePicture: document.getElementById(‘attachment’).file[0]
var configs = {
headers: {‘Content-Type’: undefined },
transformRequest: function (data) {
var formData = new FormData();
angular.forEach(data, function (value, key) {
formData.append(key, value);
return formData;
$http.post(uploadUrl, model, configs).then(function(response) {
return response.data;

The most important piece to note is the Content-Type in the config object. Setting this to false does not work in Angular 1.5.5. You must set it to undefined. If you are utilizing an earlier version of Angular earlier than 1.2 you should use false.

The second important piece to note is the use of the transformRequest. This can be used in either version. I simply needed all model properties to be registered as FormData so I had the transform loop through each value of my model and append it to the FormData object.

As a fair warning, I have not attempted to use this solution for multiple file uploads. However I would love to know if this approach is successful. It seems like it would be considering the generic nature of the upload logic.

This approach works in IE10, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. If you have another browser in mind you can check with Can I Use.