OpenAI GPT-4o is now rolling out — here's how to get access

GPT-4o on a Phone
(Image credit: Getty Images)

OpenAI's ChatGPT just got a major upgrade thanks to the new GPT-4o model, also known as Omni. This is a true multimodal AI capable of natively understanding text, image, video and audio with ease. It is also much faster and eventually will be able to talk back to you.

Right now its main benefit is in bringing massive reasoning, processing and natural language capabilities to the free version of ChatGPT for the first time. As part of the Spring Update announcement the company said it wanted to make the best AI widely accessible.

The rollout isn’t happening instantly, becoming available gradually in batches — most recently being the availability of the ChatGPT macOS app. Check out which features are available now, and which are coming soon. Accessing the new model is very straightforward once it has been applied to your account. Here’s how.

Getting access to GPT-4o in ChatGPT

The address for ChatGPT has changed, moving from chat.openai.com to chatgpt.com, suggesting a significant commitment to AI as a product rather than an experiment. If you’ve got access to 4o on your account it will be available in the mobile app and online.

There is also a Mac app that has started to roll out to some users. Be wary of links though as it is being used by scammers as a way to get malware on to computers. For now the best option is to wait until you get an email or notification with a link from OpenAI.

Even if you do have a working link for the app, it won’t let you use it until access has been applied to your OpenAI account. You’ll get an error saying “You don’t have access.”

What features are available today from GPT-4o?

For now what you’ll get when you sign in to ChatGPT is access to the chat version of GPT-4o, not any of the more advanced voice or video functionality as that is “gradually rolling out” over the coming weeks, starting with Plus and Team accounts.

Free account users will notice the biggest change as GPT-4o is not only better than the 3.5 model previously available in ChatGPT but also a boost on GPT-4 itself. Users will also now be able to run code snippets, analyze images and text files and use custom GPT chatbots.

On mobile, you still have access to ChatGPT Voice, but it is the version that was launched last year. The way to tell is to have a conversation, end it, and see if it has transcribed everything to chat — that will be the older model. The new model doesn’t need this step as it understands speech, emotion and human interaction natively without turning it into text first.

1. Sign in to ChatGPT

(Image: © OpenAI)

Whether you use the paid or free version of ChatGPT the first thing to do is sign in. Visit the website or download the app and connect to your account. If you don’t have one then simply sign up.


2. Download the ChatGPT macOS app (if you want)

(Image: © Future)

OpenAI has confirmed that the macOS app is being rolled out right now to a limited set of users, with broader access coming in the "next few weeks." If you get this notification when on the browser version of chatGPT, click download to get the app! 


3. Check your model choices

(Image: © OpenAI)

There will be a drop-down menu near the top of the screen. This will have a list of models. On the website, it may already say GPT-4o selected. But could also have GPT-4 or GPT-3.5. If GPT-4o doesn’t appear then you don’t have access to the model yet.

On mobile, it will say ChatGPT 4o in the middle of the navigation bar at the top of the screen if you have access.

4. Start chatting

(Image: © OpenAI)

If you do have access then simply start chatting with GPT-4o in the same way you would with GPT-4. There are rate limits imposed and these are much lower on the free plan. This means you’ll only be able to send a set number per day. If this runs out you can continue the conversation with GPT-4 or GPT-3.5.


5. Change the model in a chat

(Image: © GPT-4o how to)

You can also change the AI model you’re using midway through a chat. For example, if you want to manage how many messages you send using GPT-4o you could start the chat with GPT-3.5, then select the sparkle icon at the end of the response.

This opens a model menu and if you select GPT-4o, which might be necessary for a more complex math query, you will have the next response sent using GPT-4o.

6. Upload files

(Image: © OpenAI)

If you have GPT-4o and are on the free plan you’ll now be able to send it files to analyze. These could be images, video or even PDFs. You can then ask it any questions about the content.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?

  • SaintNick
    I was waiting and waiting for ChatGPT-4o to arrive in the EU, and then found that I actually already have it! It doesn't appear in the Models dropdown where I only have "ChatGPT" and "ChatGPT Plus Upgrade", but in the starry icon next to the responses I do have ChatGPT-4o.
    Reply