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How to get the ChatGPT desktop app working on your Mac right now

Published May 22nd, 2024 12:07PM EDT
GPT-4o is a new multimodal model that will power ChatGPT Free and Plus.
Image: OpenAI

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One of the surprises from OpenAI’s ChatGPT GPT-4o event last week was a brand-new desktop app for Mac. It includes complete access, with support for voice chats and multimodal access.

Some caveats were immediately clear. First, the ChatGPT desktop app is for macOS only. You’ll also need a Mac with an M-series chip inside to install the app when it’s available. That’s the biggest issue, of course. OpenAI didn’t make the app available to everyone who wants to try it. Instead, only some users have access right now. Installing the app before access is granted to your account results in an error message when you try to log in.

If you don’t have access yet, we have good news. It turns out that you can force your way into the ChatGPT Mac app right now.

How to download the ChatGPT app for Mac

If you are a Mac and ChatGPT user who hasn’t received an invite to download the app, you can download the app manually right now. We’ve discovered that you can ask ChatGPT to give you the download link, something it couldn’t do in the first hours after OpenAI’s GPT-4o event. At the time, it didn’t even know there was a ChatGPT app for Mac.

ChatGPT will eventually score that direct download link for you, even if it fumbles the first few tries. Just keep correcting it and ask for the right information.

Screenshot shows a conversation that eventually led to a working download link
Screenshot shows a conversation with ChatGPT that eventually led to a working download link.

However, installing the app on your Mac isn’t enough to let you use it. You’d still need to receive an official invite message from OpenAI.

Thankfully, there’s a simple workaround so that you don’t have to wait.

How to get access

The unofficial fix appeared on X, and then it made its way quickly to Reddit.

The process of forcing access to ChatGPT for macOS is relatively simple. You just have to log into your ChatGPT account and then quit the app at a critical point: “when window size changes but before message appears ‘you do not have access…'”

After that, open the app, and you’ll have ChatGPT working on your macOS laptop or desktop.

Redditors responding to the thread say the trick works, but some noted that the voice chat still gives an error. That’s to say, your mileage may vary.

The best thing to do is wait for an official invite via the ChatGPT web app. Also, if you encounter any issues, you can uninstall the Mac app and return to the web experience. Then, reinstall the app when you get the invite to download it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.