Image upload example with Swift and PHP

Note: If you are looking for an example on how to upload image to Amazon AWS S3 bucket then I have a different blog post on it. 

It is nice when user profile has a photo. It is just so much better with a photo. In this example I am going to show you how to upload an image from your mobile app to a server side php script. You can use this code with your user registration scripts and enable user to upload user profile image.

I have split this example into 3 videos and with this blog post I am going to share with you all 3 videos + all source code needed to implement image upload feature.

1. Create basic user interface to enable user to select an image from the photo library on their mobile device.

2. Write Swift code to upload image from mobile device to your server.

Source code

//  ViewController.swift
//  ImageUploadExample
//  Created by Sergey Kargopolov on 2015-03-07.
//  Copyright (c) 2015 Sergey Kargopolov. All rights reserved.

import UIKit

class ViewController: UIViewController, UIImagePickerControllerDelegate, UINavigationControllerDelegate {
    @IBOutlet weak var myActivityIndicator: UIActivityIndicatorView!
    @IBOutlet weak var myImageView: UIImageView!
    @IBAction func uploadButtonTapped(sender: AnyObject) {
    @IBAction func selectPhotoButtonTapped(sender: AnyObject) {
        let myPickerController = UIImagePickerController()
        myPickerController.delegate = self;
        myPickerController.sourceType = UIImagePickerControllerSourceType.PhotoLibrary
        self.presentViewController(myPickerController, animated: true, completion: nil)
    func imagePickerController(picker: UIImagePickerController, didFinishPickingMediaWithInfo info: [String : AnyObject])
        myImageView.image = info[UIImagePickerControllerOriginalImage] as? UIImage
        self.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)
    override func viewDidLoad() {
        // Do any additional setup after loading the view, typically from a nib.


    override func didReceiveMemoryWarning() {
        // Dispose of any resources that can be recreated.

    func myImageUploadRequest()
        let myUrl = NSURL(string: "");
        //let myUrl = NSURL(string: "");
        let request = NSMutableURLRequest(URL:myUrl!);
        request.HTTPMethod = "POST";
        let param = [
            "firstName"  : "Sergey",
            "lastName"    : "Kargopolov",
            "userId"    : "9"
        let boundary = generateBoundaryString()
        request.setValue("multipart/form-data; boundary=\(boundary)", forHTTPHeaderField: "Content-Type")
        let imageData = UIImageJPEGRepresentation(myImageView.image!, 1)
        if(imageData==nil)  { return; }
        request.HTTPBody = createBodyWithParameters(param, filePathKey: "file", imageDataKey: imageData!, boundary: boundary)

        let task = NSURLSession.sharedSession().dataTaskWithRequest(request) {
            data, response, error in
            if error != nil {
            // You can print out response object
            print("******* response = \(response)")
            // Print out reponse body
            let responseString = NSString(data: data!, encoding: NSUTF8StringEncoding)
            print("****** response data = \(responseString!)")
            do {
                let json = try NSJSONSerialization.JSONObjectWithData(data!, options: []) as? NSDictionary
                    self.myImageView.image = nil;


    func createBodyWithParameters(parameters: [String: String]?, filePathKey: String?, imageDataKey: NSData, boundary: String) -> NSData {
        let body = NSMutableData();
        if parameters != nil {
            for (key, value) in parameters! {
                body.appendString("Content-Disposition: form-data; name=\"\(key)\"\r\n\r\n")
                let filename = "user-profile.jpg"

                let mimetype = "image/jpg"
                body.appendString("Content-Disposition: form-data; name=\"\(filePathKey!)\"; filename=\"\(filename)\"\r\n")
                body.appendString("Content-Type: \(mimetype)\r\n\r\n")
        return body

    func generateBoundaryString() -> String {
        return "Boundary-\(NSUUID().UUIDString)"


extension NSMutableData {
    func appendString(string: String) {
        let data = string.dataUsingEncoding(NSUTF8StringEncoding, allowLossyConversion: true)


3. Server side PHP script that accepts HTTP POST requests with an image and additional parameters.

Source code

$firstName = $_POST["firstName"];
$lastName = $_POST["lastName"];
$userId = $_POST["userId"];

$target_dir = "wp-content/uploads/2015/02";if(!file_exists($target_dir))
mkdir($target_dir, 0777, true);

$target_dir = $target_dir . "/" . basename($_FILES["file"]["name"]);

if (move_uploaded_file($_FILES["file"]["tmp_name"], $target_dir)) 
echo json_encode([
"Message" => "The file ". basename( $_FILES["file"]["name"]). " has been uploaded.",
"Status" => "OK",
"userId" => $_REQUEST["userId"]

} else {

echo json_encode([
"Message" => "Sorry, there was an error uploading your file.",
"Status" => "Error",
"userId" => $_REQUEST["userId"]


I hope that this short Swift programming tutorial was helpful for you. There is much more to learn about Mobile App Development with Swift for iOS platform! Check them out and may be one of them will be just what you need.