OpenAI brings its ChatGPT app to all Mac users


OpenAI has been testing its ChatGPT Mac desktop app among paying subscribers for the last few weeks. Now, it has opened its new desktop app to anyone with a Mac.

Coming so soon after Apple announced at WWDC that ChatGPT will be integrated within Siri and some apps across its platforms, the introduction must be a sign of the times. Apple’s decision to support ChatGPT and other generative AI (genAI) platforms across its ecosystem should expose millions of users to tools they might not have yet tried out.

A nice integration for Mac users

If you’ve already used ChatGPT on a browser or through other applications, you’ll be familiar with what it can accomplish. The smart chatbot can help get things done, source information, improve your work, and much more. (Though, as always, be careful of any hallucinations or errors that might crop up.)

The integration seems to be a solid combination of the ease-of-use of the Mac and the powerful tools within ChatGPT. In effect, that means the tools within the chatbot are easily available from almost anywhere on your Mac.

It is just the beginning, of course, as Apple has already promised deeper integration between its platforms and ChatGPT as an adjunct to Apple Intelligence. Announced at this month’s developer conference, Apple described plenty of uses for the technology, including in Writing tools.

What can the ChatGPT app do on a Mac?

In a series of short videos shared via OpenAI’s Twitter/X feed, the company described some of what you can achieve. On your Mac, the Chat GPT app can:

  • Respond to the well-known and familiar Option-Space shortcut to invoke a ChatGPT query.
  • Take a screenshot of a specific window or your entire screen to request feedback or advice on what is there — for example, when seeking to improve code.
  • Search past ChatGPT conversations for specific items.
  • Quickly and easily ask about anything on your computer using copy and paste.
  • And of course, as you engage in conversation, you can refine and improve the exchange to produce more useful results.

You do gain access to standard Voice Mode (so you can speak to ChatGPT). But OpenAI has already promised a new version of Voice Mode powered by GPT-4o will be introduced in the coming weeks. That version will introduce the new audio and video capabilities introduced within GPT-4o.

“Whether you want to brainstorm a new idea for your company, prepare for an interview or have a topic you’d like to discuss, tap the headphone icon in the bottom right corner of the desktop app to start a voice conversation,” the company said.

The trickle becomes a flood

While ethical, environmental, and trust issues continue to delay the kind of rapid deployment of AI aficionados had originally anticipated, there’s little doubt usage will accelerate as platforms like Apple’s weave support inside them.

For most enterprises, this demands implementation of device management systems to help protect against unapproved use of these tools, particularly around confidential data. Apple is responding to this need with device management controls in macOS to constrain use of Apple Intelligence/OpenAI. It is already possible to manage app installs on Macs using MDM systems.

The new app is available for Apple Silicon (M-series) Macs running macOS 14 or later. Similar apps are already available for iPads and iPhones, but not Windows, where they’re expected later this year. You can download the Mac app here

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