after spending the whole day trying to research, the below seems to be working for PHP 5 versions:
Create a new file, and this time call it “.user.ini”. In that file, paste the following code:
upload_max_filesize = 64M
post_max_size = 64M
memory_limit = 64M
max_execution_time = 300
You can change the value of 64M to match your new desired upload limit. Save this file, and then drag it into the directory of your WordPress install using FTP. If you have the ability to restart your server, you should do so. The changes may take a bit to take effect, but go to Media -> Add New to confirm.