iPhone's upcoming AI features may come from OpenAI — but you'll need to opt-in to use them

Apple and ChatGPT apps
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Earlier this week news broke that Apple will be partnering with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, to bring AI features to the iPhone. However it’s also been reported that OpenAI features will be opt-in, which means anyone that isn’t interested won’t have these features forced on them.

This news comes from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, quoting people “familiar with the matter”. Apparently the opt-in nature of OpenAI features on iPhone is an attempt to appease wary customers — some of whom may not be happy with OpenAI having any kind of access to their personal data.

Gurman notes that OpenAI’s partnership with Apple may add extra scrutiny to the company, particularly in light of safety and privacy concerns. While Apple has been a strong proponent of data privacy and security for the past couple of years, the privacy factor may be of concern to some people. 

With that in mind an opt-in system makes perfect sense. It gives Apple the opportunity to offer these AI features, and clarify how it’s going to keep user data safe and secure. But for the people who aren’t convinced, they don’t actually need to do anything to keep their phone OpenAI free.

It’s a win/win for both companies. Apple gets to catch up with rivals like Google and Samsung by offering AI on its devices much sooner than would otherwise be possible. Meanwhile, OpenAI gets the exposure and benefits of being a key part of one of the best selling smartphones in the world. 

Plus outsourcing means Apple can distance itself from any problems or controversies that may arise due to the AI getting stuff wrong. It wouldn’t be completely out of the firing line, but most of the blame would lie with OpenAI.

Gurman notes that this is very much a stop-gap measure, though. OpenAI may be responsible for a number of key iPhone AI features for the immediate future, this isn’t stopping Apple pursuing the technologies in house. This isn’t exclusive to AI either, since Apple has a long history of bringing various key bits of technology under its direct control — with Apple Silicon being one of the most notable recent examples.

It’s not clear when we might see a true Apple AI, but rumor has it that Siri will be getting a generative AI overhaul at some point in the near future. Though this may not arrive until sometime in the middle of next year. So that might be a topic for WWDC 2025, rather than next week’s keynote.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.