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Elon Musk's latest anti-Apple tirade is about a ChatGPT feature that doesn't exist

Apple and OpenAI partnered to bring ChatGPT to Siri

Elon Musk has a fundamental misunderstanding of Apple's partnership with ChatGPT and believes that it's the gateway to automatically sharing all user data on iPhone with OpenAI.

OpenAI is one of several partners Apple will enable to communicate with Apple Intelligence in iOS 18 and other operating systems later in 2024. The partnership allows for private and secure queries to third-party LLMs with complete control over what is sent and when.

Apple was clear in its announcement of ChatGPT integration with iOS 18 that every query would be user-approved and only available in select use cases. It appears that Elon Musk hasn't seen the keynote — or is willingly misinterpreting what was said — because he has shared a series of increasingly deranged posts on X speculating on data theft and nuclear warfare.

His first post suggests that if "Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level," he will ban Apple devices from his companies. Visitors to his companies will have to leave their devices in a Faraday cage.

Musk accuses Apple of not knowing enough about the technology to ensure data safety. In the usual Musk fashion, each post gets further down a conspiratorial rabbit hole.

A series of screenshotted posts from Elon Musk on X
Elon Musk drawing incorrect conclusions on X

What's actually happening with ChatGPT

Later in 2024, when Apple enables ChatGPT functionality in iOS 18, it will be opt-in and on a per-query basis. With ChatGPT disabled, it will send the query to Apple servers with Apple-made LLMs powered by Apple Silicon, where everything is end-to-end encrypted.

If ChatGPT is enabled, the query will be put in front of the user, asking if the text should be forwarded to ChatGPT.

What data is sent to ChatGPT will fully depend on the context. However, it's never without user consent, and it will only ever be with data necessary for the query.

For example, Apple only showed off integrations dealing with text and image generation or web searches.

Siri requesting if a query can be sent to ChatGPT on an iPhone
Siri requesting if a query can be sent to ChatGPT

The image, text, or search query sent to ChatGPT is sent without an identifier for free and discarded after the result is produced and sent to the user. Even if Apple and ChatGPT are lying and conspiring to gather user data, the data they get would only be what the user actively chooses to send.

To be clear, there is no reason to fear ChatGPT being addressable by Siri or Writing Tools. It isn't significantly different from installing the ChatGPT app on your iPhone.

The iOS 18 beta is available to developers. Apple Intelligence isn't included in the initial beta, and ChatGPT integrations likely won't appear until after a public launch in the fall.

We're not certain it is wise to make critical decisions about products you don't understand and take away user choice from your employees. But, if Musk wants to force everyone to use Android devices, which run Google Gemini locally, or Microsoft devices, which does not have the protections Apple has implemented, he has the power to do it.

Perhaps it is time for Elon Musk to finally make the X phone after years of promises, so he and his supporters can live in the perfect ecosystem of their design. We'd ask for comment, but poop emojis aren't exactly useful feedback.