Install ESP8266 NodeMCU LittleFS Filesystem Uploader in Arduino IDE

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to install the ESP8266 LittleFS Filesystem Uploader Plugin in your Arduino IDE to upload files to the ESP8266 NodeMCU filesystem.

Install ESP8266 LittleFS Filesystem Uploader in Arduino IDE

If you want to use LittleFS for the ESP8266 with VS Code + PlatformIO, follow the next tutorial instead:

At the moment, this is not compatible with Arduino 2.0.

Table of Contents

Introducing LittleFS

LittleFS is a lightweight filesystem created for microcontrollers that lets you access the flash memory like you would do in a standard file system on your computer, but it’s simpler and more limited. You can read, write, close, and delete files. Using LittleFS with the ESP8266 boards is especially useful to:

Installing LittleFS Filesystem Uploader Plugin

You can create, save and write files to the ESP8266 filesystem by writing the code yourself on the Arduino IDE. This is not very useful because you’d have to type your files’ content in the Arduino sketch.

Fortunately, there is a plugin for the Arduino IDE that allows you to upload files directly to the ESP8266 LittleFS filesystem from a folder on your computer. This makes it easy and straightforward to work with files.

SPIFFS is currently deprecated and may be removed in future releases of the ESP8266 core. It is recommended to use LittleFS instead. LittleFS is under active development, supports directories, and is faster for most operations. The methods used for SPIFFS are compatible with LittleFS, so we can simply use the expression LittleFS instead of SPIFFS in our code.

Windows Instructions

Follow the next steps to install the filesystem uploader if you’re using Windows:

1) Go to the releases page and click the file to download.

ESP8266 LittleFS Download

2) Find your Sketchbook location. In your Arduino IDE, go to File > Preferences and check your Sketchbook location. In my case, it’s in the following path: C:\Users\sarin\Documents\Arduino.

Arduino sketchbook location

3) Go to the sketchbook location, and create a tools folder.

creating tools folder sketchbook folder SPIFFS

4) Unzip the downloaded .zip folder. Open it and copy the ESP8266LittleFS folder to the tools folder you created in the previous step. You should have a similar folder structure:

install LittleFS filesystem plugin ESP8266 folder structure

5) Finally, restart your Arduino IDE.

To check if the plugin was successfully installed, open your Arduino IDE and select your ESP8266 board. In the Tools menu, check that you have the option “ESP8266 LittleFS Data Upload“.

ESP8266 Tools LittleFS Data Upload Arduino IDE

Mac OS X Instructions

Follow the next steps to install the filesystem uploader if you’re using Mac OS X:

1) Go to the releases page and click the file to download.

ESP8266 LittleFS Download

2) Unpack the files.

3) Create a folder called tools in /Documents/Arduino/.

4) Copy the unpacked ESP8266LitlteFS folder to the tools directory. You should have a similar folder structure.

install ESP8266 LittleFS filesystem plugin folder structure mac os X

5) Finally, restart your Arduino IDE.

To check if the plugin was successfully installed, open your Arduino IDE. Select your ESP32 board, go to Tools and check that you have the option “ESP8266 LittleFS Data Upload“.

ESP8266 LittleFS Data Upload Mac OS X

Uploading Files to ESP8266 using the Filesystem Uploader

To upload files to the ESP8266 filesystem, follow the next instructions.

1) Create an Arduino sketch and save it. For demonstration purposes, you can save an empty sketch.

2) Then, open the sketch folder. You can go to Sketch > Show Sketch Folder. The folder where your sketch is saved should open.

3) Inside that folder, create a new folder called data.

Arduino Sketch Data Folder

4) Inside the data folder is where you should put the files you want to save into the ESP8266 filesystem. As an example, create a .txt file with some text called test_example.

Example txt file ESP8266

5) In the Arduino IDE, in the Tools menu, select the desired flash size (this will depend on the size of your files).

ESP8266 Select Flash Size Arduino IDE

6) Then, to upload the files in the Arduino IDE, you just need to go to Tools > ESP8266 LittleFS Data Upload.

Important: ensure the Serial Monitor is closed. Otherwise, the upload will fail.

ESP8266 Tools LittleFS Data Upload Arduino IDE

After a few seconds, you should get the message “LittleFS Image Uploaded “. The files were successfully uploaded to the ESP8266 filesystem.

ESP8266 LittleFS Image Uploaded Success

Testing the ESP8266 LittleFS Uploader

Now, let’s check if the file was saved into the ESP8266 filesystem. Upload the following code to your ESP8266 board.

#include "LittleFS.h"
void setup() {
    Serial.println("An Error has occurred while mounting LittleFS");
  File file ="/test_example.txt", "r");
    Serial.println("Failed to open file for reading");
  Serial.println("File Content:");
void loop() {


View raw code

After uploading, open the Serial Monitor at a baud rate of 115200. Press the ESP8266 on-board “RST” button. It should print the content of your .txt file on the Serial Monitor.

Testing ESP8266 LittleFS Serial Monitor

You’ve successfully uploaded files to the ESP8266 filesystem using the plugin.

Wrapping Up

Using the filesystem uploader plugin is one of the easiest ways to upload files to the ESP8266 filesystem. In this tutorial, we’ve shown you how to upload a .txt file, but you can upload other file formats like HTML, CSS, and Javascript files to build a web server, images, or small icons, save configuration files, etc.

We have a project example in which we build a web server using HTML and CSS files saved on the filesystem (simply replace SPIFFS with LittleFS).

If you want to learn more about the ESP8266, check our resources:

Thanks for reading.

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31 thoughts on “Install ESP8266 NodeMCU LittleFS Filesystem Uploader in Arduino IDE”

  1. im sort of having a problem here;
    i did everything the page asked me to do but i get an error

    littleFS Error: mklittlefs not found!

    can you help me to solve this problem

  2. Install LittleFS on MacOS


    Unzip file mklittlefs and rename
    Copy file

    • Thank you very much. This cracked it.
      Having put the tool/esp8266littlefs.jar in every Arduino directory on my Mac with no joy, the clincher was the And of course not to waste time opening Arduino IDE 2.x after you have put the correct files in the Arduino 1.x structure.

  3. Hello
    I’m reading your comments well.
    I found that esp01 (esp8266ex) is available.
    However, we confirmed that we couldn’t do it due to a lack of EEPROM and found a solution to this.
    First, I purchased 25Q128FV (16MB), changed the chip, and then confirmed that it was built.

    • After replacement, flash upload should be performed using flash_download_tool_v3.8.5, and ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.4.
      Please refer to for a brief explanation.

      0xFFB000 : blank.bin
      0xFFC000 : esp_init_data_default.bin (e.g. : esp_init_data_default_v08.bin)
      0xFFE000 : blank.bin
      0x10000 : eagle.irom0text.bin (e.g. :
      0x00000 : eagle.flash.bin (e.g. : boot_v1.7.bin)

  4. I installed the tool following the your tut. There is no LittleFS for esp8266 in my library or github, only for esp32. Evidently, something has changed since the article was written.
    Is there a solution?

  5. Turns out the part you left out is “you MUST be using esp8266 3.0.2”, 3.0.1 is not going to do it.
    For some reason I had to uninstall Arduino IDE and physically remove the c:\users/me/appdata/local/arduino15 directory and re install the IDE and boards.
    All is well now.
    Thank you

  6. When I first tried to upload files to LittleFS, it repeatedly failed to connect to the ESP8266 via the COM port with an error message:
    esptool.FatalError: Failed to connect to ESP8266: Timed out waiting for packet header
    LittleFS Upload failed!

    After searching for solutions, I finally found another site that mentioned the board must be put into flash mode (if it does not automatically do that) to upload files to LittleFS. It might be worth adding a note in the instructions on this page to indicate that the board must be in flash mode to upload files. It might save others a lot of time researching this problem.

  7. is there a way to combine LittleFS with the main code and have one burning BIN file for uploading using ESP download tool ?

  8. Despite following the instruction of the entire instruction, I do not get an option Tools > ESP8266 Sketch Data Upload.

    • Hi.
      That probably means that there’s something wrong with your installation.
      Are you sure you installed it correctly?
      Some people have more than one Arduino ide installation, and then happen to install the tool on the other installation and not on the one they’re using.

      • sevarel done. Also follwed a video how to do this. All with no succes. No Tools > ESP8266 Sketch Data Upload. Als new ESP8266LittleFS tried. No option in IDE.

          • I had found another old arduino and removed it. PC restarted, no always no option. After this Again the new (2.04) arduino installed, no option. Removed everything and restarted PC. After this, completely new installation was carried out. Still not an option.
            So don’t understand why I don’t get an option to upload data

          • I think I’ve found the problem. I installed an old version on a laptop (1.8) Everything works now. Tried this on my PC and everything is present. If I install the new 2 version again, the option is not present. The question now is, how do I get the option with version 2 of arduino

          • Hi.
            Unfortunately, at the moment, there isn’t a tool to upload to SPIFFS on Arduino 2.0.

  9. I installed everything following the instructions, and even tried several versions from github, but no chance. Tried this on two laptops, one with only the old IDE (1.8.19) and python2.7, and the other with old IDE and paralel the new one (2.0.4. or something alike) under Windows 10.

    Installing an earlier version for the old SPIFFS works, so I am in the right directory and obviously got the instructions right. But I’d prefer to use the newer LittleFS.

    In the versions adapted for LittleFS (2.5.1 or 2.6.0) on github I noticed that there is no /tools/xy.jar-File, but only a /src/ So both the path AND the file type differ from the instructions.

    There is a makefile included in the zips, which seems to generate a jar from the java file, but it’s a shell script for linux (and uses linux paths), so useless under windows. Furthermore I noticed in the diffs on github that python3 seems to by required – I just had to downgrade my system to python2.7, which was requested in some docs for OTA functionality (but as now comes to my mind it worked also on the python3-laptop, so may have been a wrong requirement, or the OTA scripts run with both versions).

    Any ideas? Or better a link to a webserver which allows to explore the LittleFS? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi.
      Currently, this doesn’t work with Arduino 2.0.
      But this works for arudino 1.8.x
      Do you ever get the “LittleFS Data Upload” option in the Arduino menu?

      • Hi Sara

        it’s me again, after quite some time ….

        Probably i have found the problem behind the missing “LittleFS Data Upload” option !!

        When someone follows the description to unzip the downloaded “ESP8266LittleFS-2.6.0)” and then moves the unzipped firle to the “tools” section, you will get one folder too much. So when I copied the content of ESP8266LittleFS-2.6.0 to tools/ESP8266LittleFS (like you correctly show in your screenshot), the option pops up correctly.

        I hope this will help our fellow “makers” …

        Best regards from Germany


      • Hi Sara, thanks for the fast reply!

        Yes and no. The data upload function only works with the old SPIFSS version ( When I remove this and instead try the versions 2.5.1 or 2.6.0 (“Modified by Earle F. Philhower, III for LittleFS use”), nothing shows up. So the destination should be correct.

        In github it says:
        “Unpack the tool into tools directory (the path will look like /Arduino/tools/ESP8266LittleFS/tool/esp8266littlefs.jar”
        But the downloaded zips (2.5.1 upwards) don’t contain a file “esp8266littlefs.jar”, but a “”). And the path in the zip is not “/tools”, but “/src”. So I guess I somehow get the wrong archive?

        • Sorry, please cancel my request. After writing my last post it reluctantly crawled to my mind that obviously I downloaded the wrong zip.

          I am not very experienced with github and so far was used to click on “code” (upper left) to get a download menue. This worked fine with some arduino libs. I didn’t notice that the “releases” section to the right does NOT contain old versions, but instead is the easter-eggish place to download.

          Where are the good old days where people placed a big, fat “download” button for old-fashioned single-core-minded guys like me?
          // dumb mode off

  10. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the post and for your reply to the comment. I would like to ask if it is possible to put ESP8266LittleFS on the current version of Arduino IDE 2.1.0?

    Best regards,


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