ChatGPT-4o logo on phone

(Image credit: Future)

OpenAI seems to be in a generous spirit, offering up many of the features in ChatGPT previously reserved for those paying $20 a month for free to all users.

The move was first announced during its Spring Update along with GPT-4o and some impressive new voice-to-voice functionality for ChatGPT. While the voice functionality hasn’t yet been launched, GPT-4o is now widely available for free and paid accounts.

Free users will now have access to the hundreds of thousands of custom GPTs created by companies and individuals, as well as data and code analysis tools, the ability to upload images and have the chatbot comment on them and of course GPT-4o itself.

There is a catch to all of this generosity thought — you won’t be able to make custom GPTs with a free account, image generation with DALL-E isn’t available and you’ll only get about 10 messages at a time to GPT-4o before it reverts back to GPT-3.5. 

Why is OpenAI making features free?

All ChatGPT Free users can now use browse, vision, data analysis, file uploads, and GPTs. 29, 2024

OpenAI says the aim is to put advanced artificial intelligence tools in the hands of as many people as possible and so made both GPT-4o and other tools free in ChatGPT.

While that is likely true in itself, there are other factors at play including increased competition from Microsoft with its GPT-4o-powered Copilot, Claude 3 from Anthropic and Google.

Microsoft has offered GPTs, image generation and data analysis in the free version of Copilot since day one, using rate limits to set the paid plan apart. OpenAI is now doing the same.

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As well as giving more people a better first impression of what is possible with AI, the move will likely also drive up subscriptions as they’re only offering a limited number of messages (likely, around 10) using GPT-4o and advanced tools per day with the free plan.

Why should I keep paying $20 a month

With the free version of ChatGPT you now get access to GPT-4o, OpenAI’s most advanced general-purpose AI model, code and data analysis, image upload and GPTs.

What you don’t get is the ability to create your own custom GPT chatbots, make images using DALL-E or — at least for now — access to the ChatGPT desktop app for Mac.

OpenAI says the paid accounts will also get access to the new voice and vision capabilities first an it is expected when the next generation model launches it will be exclusive to the paid plan.

The company also added that those on a paid plan will get five times more messages using GPT-4o per day than the free users. I’ve been testing it out and despite very heavy usage haven’t hit the rate limit yet on the paid plan.

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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?

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The post ChatGPT free just got a huge upgrade — GPT-4o and custom GPTs among newly added features first appeared on

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