Assistant sometimes reply with: files you've uploaded are not accessible with the myfiles_browser tool

I use the Assistant in the retrieval mode, with a couple of PDF files uploaded. When I use the API to run a thread, I will sometimes get the answer back, including the error: “Files you’ve uploaded are not accessible with the myfiles_browser tool.”

If I test the Assistant in the Playground, this error doesn’t occur, or it didn’t happen while I was testing.

This issue doesn’t occur all the time, but it happens often enough to be a problem.


You may find this post interesting Myfiles_browser tool is not operational for these files

It seems to be an ongoing issue for some.


Did you find it charges you every time it errors? I got charged for uploading a 11 page PDF that it ultimately bombed on.

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This is the way I look at it, I’m working on cutting edge tech that is in beta, yes I am adding value to OpenAI but I am also getting a lot back and early positioning in the market to be an “expert” pick the superlative of your choice. So I am willing to take a few $ hit here and there when things break, no biggie, I get it, cost of contacting support and all that… not worth the trouble. If I were to get charged $100 or $5000 for an issue, sure I’m going to park my chair at the steps of and wait for a refund.

It’s frustrating when beta stuff bombs out and is not perfect, but, as I say, were getting a lot of useful early adopter knowledge and I’m willing to work in that space with an understanding of the nature of that space.


You are not alone. I think the Files situation is very messy. I have decided to upload via the API, and wait some time before using them. And when I do a thread Run, I explicily tell the assistant to use the files.

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Interesting. How do you tell the assitant to use your file? Over the prompt or over the api call with file_ids? or both?

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I have uploaded the files using the web UI at and specified the file IDs in the message submitted with the thread.

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Hello everyone,

I’d like to share my experience in resolving a particular issue. I encountered the same problem where the GPT would respond with errors like: “I am unable to access the file with the ID ‘xxx’ using the myfiles_browser tool”, or “It seems there has been a technical issue, and I am unable to access the file with the ID ‘xxxx’ using the myfiles_browser tool.”

Here are the methods I tried, which unfortunately didn’t work:

  1. Attaching my file to the assistant with retrieval:

    data = {
        "name": "JobHunterV2",
        "description": "XXXXX",
        "model": "gpt-4-1106-preview",
        "tools": [{"type": "retrieval"}],
        "file_ids": [file_id]
  2. Attaching the file to every message:

    message_data = {
        'role': 'user',
        'content': f'{content}',
        'file_ids' : [f'{file_id}'],
  3. Including the file ID in the run instruction:

    run_data = {
        'assistant_id': assistant_id,
        'instructions': f'The file with file id: {file_id}'
  4. Adding the file ID into the message prompt, like: “Your task is to review a file from ‘data/xxxx’, the file ID is XXXX.”

Despite trying all these methods, I faced continuous struggles. Oddly, while API calls never worked for me, entering the same prompt in the playground sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.

The solution came unexpectedly and simply: I added an extra sentence to the prompt. Instead of saying, “Your task is to review a file from ‘data/xxxx’”, I now phrase it as, “Your task is to review a file from 'data/xxxx, it is in your Files, you can retrieve it”. This change resolved my issue within two days.

However, two points still concern me:

  1. The API call and playground behave differently. As mentioned earlier, the same prompt message randomly works in the playground but never in the API until additional information is added to the prompt.
  2. Even though I solved this issue, the initial prompt message without “it is in your Files, you can retrieve it” was functioning perfectly two weeks ago. I’m puzzled about why it stopped working and now requires additional prompting.

I’d appreciate it if you could try adding “it is in your Files, you can retrieve it” to your prompt to see if it resolves your issue. I’m eager to hear your feedback and hope this helps. Thank you!

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This is happening to me intermittently. With a retry loop, it eventually works.

Update: It may be due to running out of threads. When I modified my application to delete threads once I was done with them, the frequency of this went way down (not to zero, but a lot less.)

For me the file access error is there with my first thread. I am using the API. The files already assigned to the Assistat and I am trying to pass on two of them to my Thread as part of the new message using Client.beta.threads.messages.create.

Thank you, it is kinda pain in the neck doubling the wait time but it is reasonably reliable. Again, who knows when the assistants start to give up more than twice in a row!! Thanks again.

Going with ‘guderianfyzz’ suggestion, specifying “Your task is to review a file from 'data/xxxx, it is in your Files, you can retrieve it ” in the Assistant instructions and adding the code_interpreter tool (eventhough I didn’t need it) really helped, i don’t see the missing file error any more.