ChatGPT Mac App Stored User Chats in Plain Text Prior to Latest Update

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.

2chatgpt mac app
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.

Tag: ChatGPT

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
macbook pro january

Best Buy's Black Friday in July Sale Takes Up to $700 Off M3 MacBook Pro for Members

Monday July 15, 2024 11:05 am PDT by
Best Buy's "Black Friday in July" sale is in full swing today, and in addition to a few iPad Air discounts we shared earlier, there are also some steep markdowns on the M3 MacBook Pro. You will need a My Best Buy Plus or Total membership in order to get some of these deals. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small...
ipaos 18 image playground

Apple Releases First iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 Public Betas

Monday July 15, 2024 1:16 pm PDT by
Apple today provided the first betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to public beta testers, bringing the new software to the general public for the first time since the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple has seeded three developer betas so far, and the first public beta includes the same content that's in the third developer beta. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro

Saturday July 13, 2024 8:00 am PDT by
Samsung this week introduced its latest earbuds, the Galaxy Buds3 Pro, which look quite a bit like Apple's AirPods Pro 2. Given the similarities, we thought we'd compare Samsung's new earbuds to the AirPods Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, you could potentially mistake Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro for the AirPods Pro. The Buds3 Pro have the same...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
Generic iOS 18 Feature Real Mock

Apple Seeds Revised Third Betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to Developers

Monday July 15, 2024 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today seeded updated third betas iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming a week after Apple initially released the third betas. Registered developers are able to opt into the betas by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the ‌iOS 18/iPadOS 18‌ Developer Beta ...

Top Rated Comments

Plutonius Avatar
2 weeks ago
It seems like I hear that excuse a lot from different companies that screw up and are caught :).
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zilchfox Avatar
2 weeks ago
Makes you wonder how they store prompt history on the web-based version.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phenste Avatar
2 weeks ago
remind me again why sandboxing on the Mac App Store is bad? ?

makes me wonder if distribution of the ChatGPT app across Apple platforms was discussed during their deal. kinda surprised Apple wouldn’t strong-arm them into a Mac App Store release of the app so as to fully comply with Apple’s security standards.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vkd Avatar
2 weeks ago
Aside from being a massive security risk, this so-called Artificial Intelligence is nothing more than a disguised coup to manipulate public opinion, censor free thought by eliminating what they consider to be opposed to their desired schematic and also ultimately to insidiously monitor everybody's activity. Of course they will profess otherwise and efforts will be seen to create privacy, but as we see in these initial stages, first with Microsoft and now others including this, their prime intentions are not security based, our privacy is not something that they give a fig for. Otherwise, how could Microsoft even dream of putting into public space such a massive data collection facility as was their Copilot v1.0?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chiromac81 Avatar
2 weeks ago
"im shocked!!"

Said no one ever
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Squuiid Avatar
2 weeks ago
One has to wonder about the security posture of everything else they do. This was careless and sloppy.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)