OpenAI has issued an update to its ChatGPT app for Mac, after a developer discovered the app was locally storing users’ conversations with the chatbot in plain text.


Pedro José Pereira Vieito told The Verge‘s Jay Peters: “I was curious about why OpenAI opted out of using the app sandbox protections and ended up checking where they stored the app data.”

That led Pereira Vieito to develop “ChatGPTStealer,” a simple app to demonstrate how easy it is to load the chats in a text window outside of the ChatGPT app. After successfully trying out the app for himself, Peters said he was also able to see the text of conversations on his computer just by changing the file name, indicating the extent of the privacy risk.

The ChatGPT Mac app is available solely through OpenAI’s website, which is why it has not been obligated to follow Apple’s sandboxing requirements that apply to software distributed via the Mac App Store. The oversight basically meant any other running app or process could potentially access the ChatGPT conversations without prompting the user for permission.

After The Verge contacted OpenAI about the issue, the company released an update that it says encrypts the chats. “We are aware of this issue and have shipped a new version of the application which encrypts these conversations,” OpenAI spokesperson Taya Christianson told the website. “We’re committed to providing a helpful user experience while maintaining our high security standards as our technology evolves.”

After downloading the update (v1.2024.171), Pereira Vieito’s app no longer works, and Peters said he was no longer able to see his conversations with the chatbot in plain text.

See also  POCO X6 Pro and POCO X6 smartphones unveiled

Popular Stories

Apple Leak Confirms Four iPhone 16 Models With Same A18 Chip

Code discovered in Apple’s backend by Nicolás Alvarez and shared with MacRumors confirms Apple’s plans to release four iPhone 16 models this year, and it indicates that the devices will all have the same A-series chip. There are mentions of new model numbers that are not associated with existing iPhones, and that have the numbering scheme Apple uses for its flagship devices. The code…

MacBook Owners With Faulty Butterfly Keyboards to Get Payouts Soon

Two years after Apple paid $50 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over faulty MacBook butterfly keyboards, funds from the settlement will be going out to affected customers. An update on the MacBook Keyboard Litigation Settlement website says that the court issued a payment order on June 27, 2024, with payments set to be issued for approved claims by August 2024. Emails about the…

Apple Reclassifies iPhone X, HomePod, and Original AirPods as ‘Vintage’

Apple today reclassified the iPhone X, first-generation HomePod, and first-generation AirPods as “vintage” products. The products appeared on Apple’s vintage and obsolete products list earlier today. Products are considered vintage when Apple stopped distributing them for sale more than five and less than seven years ago. Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers continue to offer…

Some Apple Intelligence Features Likely to Require Paid Subscription

Apple eventually plans to turn some of its artificial intelligence features into paid services, similar to iCloud+ subscriptions, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that while Apple Intelligence will be free to start, Apple’s long-term plan is to launch something like “Apple Intelligence+,” with extra features that users pay…

See also  Report: Revamped Siri to Be at the Core of Apple's New AI Strategy