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ChatGPT privacy tips: Two important ways to limit the data you share with OpenAI

A ChatGPT temporary chat

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

How private are your conversations with ChatGPT? That’s a tricky question to answer. 

OpenAI says that no one can view your chats unless you specifically choose to share them. However, the company does store and maintain a history of your conversations and acknowledges that their content can be used for training.

Also: The best AI chatbots of 2024: ChatGPT, Copilot and worthy alternatives

If you’re concerned about your privacy when using ChatGPT, there are a few measures you can take. Both options are available to free and paid users alike — here’s how they work.

1. Use a temporary chat

First, you can start a temporary chat for one-and-done conversations. These chats won’t be saved as part of your history or used for model training. Further, ChatGPT won’t remember anything you discussed. However, OpenAI may still store copies of your temporary chats for up to 30 days to monitor for any abuse.

Choose a temporary chat

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

You can start a temporary chat in ChatGPT for web or the mobile app for iOS or Android. In a new chat window, tap the ChatGPT heading at the top and select the Temporary Chat option.

Also: ChatGPT vs. Copilot: Which AI chatbot is better for you?

The temporary chat screen appears and explains how the option works. You’ll see the left sidebar is grayed out, indicating the chat won’t be saved to your history list. 

Type your prompt

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

To leave Temporary chat mode, click the ChatGPT heading at the top and turn off its switch. In the mobile app, just start a new chat and you’ll no longer be in Temporary chat mode.

2. Disable model training

You can also protect your privacy by opting out of OpenAI model training. Because you’ll still be able to access your chat history, this is a handy option if you want to view and pick up previous conversations while maintaining some degree of privacy over what you say.

Also: How to get ChatGPT to browse the web for free

Turning off model training is fairly quick and easy. On ChatGPT’s site, click your profile icon in the upper right and select Settings. In the mobile app, click the hamburger menu icon in the upper left and then select your profile icon at the bottom. 

In the Settings window, select Data Controls, and toggle the “Improve the model for everyone” option off.

Turn off model training

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Close the Setting screen to return to your chat. You can now resume your conversations with ChatGPT — Open AI will no longer use your content for training purposes, and your chats will still be accessible in your history list.


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