ChatGPT has arrived on Apple silicon Macs as a desktop app — here's why I'm downloading it right now

ChatGPT on Mac showing Jolly
(Image credit: Future)

The artificial intelligence battle has already begun on macOS, with a dedicated ChatGPT app now available on Apple silicon Macs. I’ve been using it since it was made available on June 25, and I’ve come away impressed. So much so that I’m already using it more than Google Search to query some things.

ChatGPT on Mac is free to download for anyone with an OpenAI account. The app uses the company’s latest AI model, called ChatGPT- 4o. OpenAI claims that this is twice as fast as the previous version, ChatGPT-4 Turbo. Although, if you’re a free user, you only get access to 4o for a limited time. Once this expires, the app reverts to the slower ChatGPT 3.5 model for several hours. If you’re a paid user, you can use 4o for however long you wish.

Once installed, you can ask ChatGPT anything you want, such as for help with developing an app, summarizing a report from a website, and much more  — but it goes deeper than that. You can now upload files and images with a query too. For example, asking “When was this store bulldozed?” in regards to a photo will prompt the AI to look for information about the building, and will come up with the answer for you if it can find a match. The app can now also constantly run in the background for immediate access. Pressing Option + Space anywhere on macOS will make a search bar appear, allowing you to ask ChatGPT anything you wish.

ChatGPT app on Mac

(Image credit: Future)

It’s these features from the app that made me download it immediately. As a result, I'm now avoiding Google, even for quick queries.". The entire category of AI has often been focused on how it could ‘replace’ certain jobs and creative endeavors in an instant, such as artistry and video game guides. However, I've actually found ChatGPT to be more useful as a potent alternative to Google, thanks to its impressive search capabilities. As mentioned before, it serves as a better alternative than searching for websites when I have a query. In addition, ChatGPT has already shown me how I can improve my protein intake after I’ve come back from a heavy workout at the Gym. I did this very thing earlier today through ChatGPT, and it led to a helpful suggestion: a chicken salad breakfast with added ingredients of salmon and nuts with a protein shake.

ChatGPT on Mac is also a great way to see how Apple Intelligence, the company’s take on AI, could work on my MacBook Pro. It is due to arrive in macOS Sequoia, as well as iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 for compatible devices, for U.S. users later this year, and features ChatGPT integration as standard.

A sneak peek before Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence in 5 minutes - YouTube Apple Intelligence in 5 minutes - YouTube
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Announced at WWDC 2024, Apple Intelligence has several AI models that will try to help the user with whatever they’re working on. For example, as you compose an email, you will be prompted to see if you want to have your writing sound more professional or more casual. Apple Intelligence will rewrite your email to cater to one of the choices you’ve selected.

Siri also gets a huge improvement thanks to Apple Intelligence. Apple’s assistant can now perform several app functions it previously couldn’t. For instance, asking Siri to list a bunch of files that a friend may have sent you over the past week is now possible.

A partnership between Apple and OpenAI elevates this experience. If Apple Intelligence thinks that ChatGPT will generate a better answer than Apple Intelligence, it will prompt the user to ask OpenAI’s assistant to look into the query.

ChatGPT app on Mac

(Image credit: Future)

The ChatGPT macOS app is also a great taster for Mac users before macOS Sequoia arrives with Apple Intelligence later this year. Especially as any user with an Apple silicon Mac can use ChatGPT right now. This is in stark contrast to Apple Intelligence being available to U.S. users only later this year.

In my short time with the Mac app, I’ve come away impressed so far. I’ll admit, I watched the WWDC 2024 keynote with horror as Apple gleefully showcased how Apple Intelligence could remove certain types of creativity while introducing huge amounts of laziness, especially in regards to the Writing Tools.

ChatGPT is indeed good enough to ignore Apple Intelligence altogether, as it should be seen as a tool, not a replacement for what you do on your PC or Mac every day. Technology should empower us, and that’s what AI can do in certain ways. It also helps that ChatGPT’s app on Mac is available now worldwide, instead of Apple Intelligence being available to U.S. users initially later this year. If you’re still not convinced, give the app a try, even for five minutes — you might get some inspiration into how AI can help you, rather than hinder you in the work and hobbies you do every day.

MacBook Air M3 15-inch| $1,299 $1,129 at Amazon

MacBook Air M3 15-inch| $1,299 $1,129 at Amazon

The 15-inch MacBook Air M3 is perfect for ChatGPT to type in queries with the AI, as well as making sure you're ready to use Apple Intelligence, once it's made available.

Price checker: $1,299 at Apple | $1,199 at Best Buy | $1,299 at B&H Photo

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.