Since debuting in November 2022, ChatGPT has become a mainstay of the AI landscape. Although the whirlwind of excitement around its capabilities has somewhat settled, ChatGPT remains an immensely popular and powerful tool.

With OpenAI's release of the highly anticipated GPT-4 large language model, ChatGPT has become significantly more powerful. But how can you get your hands on GPT-4? How can you use GPT-4 on ChatGPT right now?

What Is GPT-4?

GPT-4, short for Generating Pre-trained Transformer 4, is the fourth iteration of the GPT family of large language models developed by OpenAI. It is the successor of the GPT-3 model, which powers the viral AI chatbot ChatGPT. GPT-4, like its predecessor, GPT-3, is designed to generate human-like text, complete tasks such as summarization and language translation, and even generate creative writing such as poetry, lyrics for music, and fiction.

It has been trained on a massive corpus of text data and can perform a wide range of natural language processing tasks with impressive accuracy and fluency.

Before its public launch, the prospect of GPT-4 generated huge excitement in the AI community due to its touted capabilities and potential applications in various fields. Now, GPT-4 is here, but how can you access it?

How to Access GPT-4 on ChatGPT

chatgpt openai logos smartphone feature
Image Credit: T. Schneider/Shutterstock

So GPT-4 is here, but how do you join the action? How do you try out all its touted capabilities?

OpenAI put its newest, sleekest GPT-4 model behind a $20 monthly subscription plan. While this is not good news for free ChatGPT users, it is another reason to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus. If you're already on the paid plan, you can switch your account's GPT model from the GPT-3.5 default to GPT-4 on demand, allowing you to switch between both models. This should help you appreciate the power of the GPT-4 iteration.

For the free tier users, to get started with GPT-4, you'll need a ChatGPT Plus subscription. So, how do you upgrade to ChatGPT Plus?

How to Upgrade to ChatGPT Plus

To upgrade your ChatGPT account to the premium ChatGPT Plus plan:

  1. Head over to ChatGPT.
  2. On the bottom of the left sidebar of the chat interface, locate and click on Upgrade to Plus.
    Upgrade to ChatGPT+
  3. You'll get a pop-up comparing the free plan and the ChatGPT Plus plan. Tap on the green Upgrade Plan button.
    ChatGPT plus comparison
  4. Up next, you'll be redirected to a page to provide your credit card details and other billing information. Provide all the required information and make payment.
  5. Once your payment has been confirmed, you should now have access to the OpenAI GPT-4 model alongside the older GPT-3.5 default and GPT-3.5 legacy models.
  6. Choose the GPT-4 model from the drop-down on your ChatGPT chat interface, select the mode you want, and start using GPT-4 with ChatGPT.
    screenshot of ChatGPT Code Interpreter

One way to be sure you're using the GPT-4 model instead of the older models is to check the color of the OpenAI logo that precedes ChatGPT's responses. GPT-3.5 model responses are preceded with a green-white logo, while GPT-4 responses are preceded with a black-white logo.

What Is the Difference Between GPT-3.5 and GPT-4?

GPT-4 stands out from previous versions in two major ways: it demonstrates considerably enhanced capabilities, yet it imposes an unpopular, restrictive message quota.

1. Performance Improvement

GPT-4 significantly improves over GPT-3.5 in areas like commonsense reasoning, mathematics, creativity, and generating code. For instance, GPT-4 performs remarkably well on simulated bar exams, scoring in the top 10% of test takers, a dramatic improvement over GPT-3.5, which scored in the bottom 10%.

Also, writing entire blocks of functional code took several iterations to get right with GPT-3.5. With GPT-4, you could write entire apps with single prompts, and you'd sometimes not need to debug any piece of it to get it working. Just copy, paste, and run.

GPT-4 is a multimodal AI model with a significantly larger context window, able to process both text and image inputs. Its full capabilities were demoed during the official GPT-4 announcement event but have not been pushed to the public, likely due to a shortage of computer chips needed to back the massive amount of compute power required for such features.

2. Usage Cap

Despite the improvements that come with GPT-4, access to the model comes with an inconvenient limitation—a usage cap. Unlike GPT-3.5, with which you can prompt all day long, GPT-4 users are restricted to anywhere from 25 to 200 messages every three hours. We are not sure how OpenAI decides who gets a higher cap, but it seems, at least for now, to be arbitrarily or by the luck of the draw. Once again, a limited supply of GPUs and the need to adequately balance server loads might be behind the mandatory usage cap.

Notwithstanding, GPT-4 is an exciting and powerful model worth the $20 you'll need to pay for a ChatGPT Plus plan. But what if you don't want to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus? Is this the end of the road for free-tier users? Not really. Here's how to use GPT-4 for free.

How to Use GPT-4 for Free

While you can't currently access GPT-4 on the free version of ChatGPT, an alternative route is to use the Bing AI Chat. Yes, Bing AI is powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 model and has been for a while. So, if you've been using AI-powered Bing, you've been using GPT-4 without realizing it. If you're concerned about the difference in the quality of responses between GPT-4 on Bing Chat and GPT-4 on ChatGPT, don't panic.

Bing Chat's GPT-4 isn't much different from ChatGPT's version. If anything, Bing's internet connection gives it access to much more up-to-date and relevant data and can produce more timely and relevant information as a result. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is limited by the cut-off date of its knowledge base. So, unless you're using ChatGPT plugins that can access and retrieve live data from the internet, you could say Bing's implementation of the GPT-4 model provides much more current data.

Bing Chat aside, whether GPT-4 will ever be available for ChatGPT free tier users is unclear. GPT-4 is already several months post-release, and there is no indication that OpenAI will make GPT-4 generally available as a free offering. However, since OpenAI is already making the GPT-4 model available to third-party developers, you can use GPT-4 in a limited capacity through third-party apps powered by GPT-4.

GPT-4: Is It Worth the Hype?

GPT-4 didn't come with all the features that a part of the AI community had hoped it would come with. There were speculations that the GPT-4 model would be significantly larger than GPT-3, supercharging its performance. As it turns out, OpenAI has not released any information in that regard, and some commentators believe that the model isn't much larger than the GPT-3.5 series.

However, despite the absence of some rumored capabilities, like video analysis, GPT-4 still packs the punch to impress even the most advanced users of ChatGPT.