ChatGPT's voice chat feature is rolling out to free users

You can now have back-and-forth conversations with ChatGPT, even if you're not paying for it.

fizkes via Getty Images

OpenAI introduced voice chats with ChatGPT on Android and iOS back in September, giving users the option to have actual back-and-forth conversations with the chatbot if they want to. The company only made the feature available to Plus and Enterprise subscribers back then, though, with the promise that it will eventually release it to other groups of users. Now, OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman has announced on X that voice conversations on ChatGPT have started rolling out to all free users on mobile.

When the company first introduced voice chats, it admitted that the capability to create "realistic synthetic voices from just a few seconds of real speech" presents new risks. It could, for instance, allow bad actors to impersonate public figures or anybody they want. As a result, it decided that ChatGPT's voice feature will focus on conversations. It's powered by a text-to-speech model that can generate "human-like audio from just text and a few seconds of sample speech." OpenAI worked with voice actors to create the capability and offers five different voices to choose from.

We checked our ChatGPT app on Android and have yet to gain access to voice conversations, which indicates that the feature could take sometime before reaching everybody's accounts. It's not quite clear if users have to opt in to be able to access it, but paid subscribers had to enable it by going to Settings and then to New Features when voice chats rolled out.

Brockman announced the capability's wide release after he had already left his seat as President of OpenAI. He quit of his own accord after the company's board fired Sam Altman as CEO, causing mayhem with senior staff members resigning in protest and the rest of the employees threatening to quit unless he's reinstated. Shortly after he made the announcement, OpenAI announced that Altman and Brockman had been reinstated and will be returning to their posts.