How Private Are My ChatGPT Conversations?

Key Takeaways

  • ChatGPT stores user data including email, IP address, browser/device data, and network information, but this is standard for most online accounts.
  • Conversations are stored for 30 days unless flagged as suspicious or violating guidelines. OpenAI may access and use conversations to improve its systems.
  • You can opt out of having your conversations used for training and can delete your chat history, although OpenAI may still store the data temporarily.

Since its launch in late 2022, ChatGPT has amassed millions of users around the world, who use the nifty chatbot for all kinds of tasks and queries. But when you have a conversation with ChatGPT, is it being kept safe? Just how private are your ChatGPT conversations, and should you be concerned about how they’re stored?

What Data Does ChatGPT Store?

When you sign up for a ChatGPT with OpenAI account, your user email will be stored. This is standard for most online accounts, so it isn’t a cause for concern.

But things don’t stop with your email address. OpenAI also records other information, including your IP address and browser, device data, and network information. If you pay for ChatGPT Plus (which requires a monthly subscription), your payment information will also be stored. Again, this is nothing out of the ordinary, but is worth keeping in mind, especially if you’re very privacy-focused.

But what about your ChatGPT conversations?

Are Your ChatGPT Conversations Recorded?

Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

In OpenAI’s Data Controls FAQ, it is stated that new conversations (including uploaded images) are retained for 30 days before being deleted permanently. This is the case for all ChatGPT conversations that don’t arouse suspicion or concern. If OpenAI believes a user’s conversations need to be monitored for safety reasons (such as suspected abusive behavior), it will do so.

However, it is stated in another OpenAI FAQ that ChatGPT conversations are used by OpenAI to “improve” its systems. So, it seems that even if your conversations haven’t been flagged as violating OpenAI guidelines, they may still be accessed and used for development.

OpenAI also outlines here that no user conversations are sold to third parties or used for marketing and advertising. OpenAI also doesn’t build any kind of user profile via the conversations you have with ChatGPT.

In the initial FAQ, OpenAI reminds users that they can opt out of having their conversations used for ChatGPT training by “disabling training”. This refers to a feature in your account settings that lets you opt in or opt out of having your conversations used to train ChatGPT further.

screenshot of chatgpt account data control settings

To disable training data, simply click the three horizontal dots next to your profile name, head to Data controls, and you’ll see a toggle you can use to disable this feature.

How to Delete Your ChatGPT History

On top of opting out of ChatGPT’s training feature, you can also delete your previous conversations. However, regardless of how quickly you delete previous conversations, OpenAI will still store them for 30 days if they raise no red flags, and possibly longer if something concerning is spotted.

To delete any of your ChatGPT conversations, head to the left-hand bar displaying your chat history.

screenshot of chatgpt chat history bar with chat conversation blurred

If you click on whichever conversation you’d like to delete, you’ll see a trash icon on the right-hand side of the chat title. Click on this, and you’ll see a window pop up asking if you’re sure you want to delete that specific conversation. Hit Delete, and your conversation will be removed from your profile. If there’s nothing in your conversation that violates ChatGPT guidelines, OpenAI should permanently delete your conversation 30 days after it was started.

If you’re using ChatGPT via your smartphone browser, the process is a little different. Once you’ve logged in, tap on the two horizontal lines and the top-left of the page to view your chat history. Then, tap on the chat you want to delete, and you’ll see three dots appear next to the chat name in your chat history list. Tap on this icon, and you’ll see the option to delete the chat.

Again, ChatGPT will ask you to confirm that you want to remove the chat before deleting it permanently.

On the iPhone ChatGPT app, you can delete your chats by first heading to the chat you want to delete. Then, click the “Delete” option. To clear your entire chat history, head to Settings > Data Controls > Clear Chat History.

You can also save and share your ChatGPT conversations if you’d like to keep them permanently or show them to someone else. We also have a guide on what to do if ChatGPT isn’t saving your conversations.

Your ChatGPT Conversations Aren’t Only Seen By You

Though your ChatGPT conversations aren’t used by OpenAI for monetary purposes, it’s important to remember that the company can both review and use your chat history to check for abusive behavior and further train the AI model. You can’t stop OpenAI from temporarily storing your data, but you can delete your chats and opt out of training.


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