ChatGPT now allows you to disable chat history, reduce training, and export data

Abstract colorful artwork created by AI.

OpenAI / Stable Diffusion

On Tuesday, OpenAI announced new controls for ChatGPT users that allow them to turn off chat history while opting out of providing that conversation history as data for training AI models. Additionally, users can now export chat history for local storage.

The new controls rolled out today to all ChatGPT users can be found in the ChatGPT settings. Conversations that start with chat history disabled will not be used to train and improve the ChatGPT model, and will not appear in the history sidebar. OpenAI will keep internal conversations for 30 days and review them “only when necessary to monitor for abuse” before deleting them permanently.

However, users who choose to opt out of providing OpenAI with data for training will lose the conversation history feature. It’s unclear why users can’t use conversation history while opting out of model training.

Previously, ChatGPT tracked conversations and used conversation data to refine its AI models. Users can periodically clear their chat history on demand, but any conversation can still be used for refinement. That created a significant privacy issue, especially for sensitive data that might be shared by corporate employees, lawyers, or doctors using ChatGPT.

A screenshot of the ChatGPT settings showing
Zoom in / A screenshot of the ChatGPT settings showing the Chat History and Learning option.

Benj Edwards / Ars Technica

ChatGPT chat history OpenAI found itself in hot water in March over a bug that temporarily exposed the chat history of some ChatGPT users to other people. That event has sparked regulatory interest in Italy that has yet to be resolved. ChatGPT’s new privacy-related features are likely related to the resolution process.

Also on Tuesday, OpenAI introduced a new “export” option in ChatGPT settings that allows users to export their ChatGPT data to files that can be stored locally on a computer. We tried the export option in ChatGPT’s settings (click “Show” next to “Data Control”) and received an email with a link to a compressed HTML file and several JSON files containing our saved chat history with ChatGPT. The story only spread until the last time we cleared the chat history.

A screenshot of an email from OpenAI that links to the exported ChatGPT conversation history.
Zoom in / A screenshot of an email from OpenAI that links to the exported ChatGPT conversation history.

Benj Edwards / Ars Technica

For professionals and businesses that “need more control over their data,” OpenAI also announced that it’s working on a new “ChatGPT Business” subscription that will opt users out of model training by default, according to OpenAI’s Data Control FAQ : OpenAI says the release date for ChatGPT Business will be “in the coming months.”

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