ChatGPT for macOS just got caught breaching Apple security rules — how that affects you

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The Mac ChatGPT app has had a troubling security issue that could have easily compromised user conversations and data, according to new reporting.

Developer Pedro José Pereira Vieito revealed on Threads that ChatGPT was instead storing its data as plain text, circumventing the security measure. This would make it easy for other apps to find and read the data. For instance, Pedro José Pereira Vieito could read prior conversations between the user and ChatGPT with an app he developed.

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(Image credit: OpenAI and Apple)

As noted by The Verge, this means that the ChatGPT app was not following the sandboxing protocol used by the majority of Apple apps. Sandboxing refers to the protocols in place that have apps restrict their data, making it impossible for other apps to access the data or make any changes without express permission

After contacting OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, The Verge was given the following statement by spokesperson Taya Christianson:

“We are aware of this issue and have shipped a new version of the application which encrypts these conversations.” 

“We’re committed to providing a helpful user experience while maintaining our high-security standards as our technology evolves.”

A ChatGPT app update has since been released for macOS which appears to solve the issue, locking ChatGPT’s data with appropriate encryption and preventing Pereria Vieito's method from working.

It should be noted that the ChatGPT app is different from the Apple/OpenAI partnership that is part of Apple Intelligence. Apple will likely be considerably more stringent on security details for that specific integration, although a certain amount of app-to-app transfer will be required for ChatGPT to function.

This issue might make some users concerned about the safety of their data and AI chatbot conversations. However, the speed at which Apple and OpenAI solved the issue should help to alleviate some concern. To keep yourself and your data protected, we recommend updating your apps and macOS as often as possible and investing in good antivirus software

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.