Update: The custom instructions option has reportedly disappeared for some users. We’re looking into it, but in the meantime don’t be surprised if the function isn’t available to you right now.
OpenAI just launched custom instructions for ChatGPT users, so they don’t have to write the same instruction prompts to the chatbot every time they interact with it — inputs like “Write the answer under 1,000 words” or “Keep the tone of response formal.”
The company said this feature lets you “share anything you’d like ChatGPT to consider in its response.” For example, a teacher can say they are teaching fourth-grade math or a developer can specify the code language they prefer when asking for suggestions. A person can also specify their family size, so ChatGPT can give responses about meals, grocery and vacation planning accordingly.
While users can already specify these things while chatting with the bot, custom instructions are helpful if users need to set the same context frequently.
The instructions also work with plug-ins, making it easier for them to suggest restaurants or flights based on your location.
OpenAI noted that the feature is available for Plus plan users, but it won’t be available for people based out of the EU and the U.K. It is a beta feature for now.
Users can try out this feature on the web by clicking on their name and going to Settings > Beta features > Opt into Custom instructions. On iOS, users can access this through Settings > New Features > Turn on Custom Instructions.
Notably, OpenAI says that the information given to the customize responses will be used to train its API models to adapt to different instructions.
“Information from your use of custom instructions will also be used to improve model performance — like teaching the model how to adapt its responses to your instructions without overdoing it,” the company said. However, users can opt out of this setting through their data control settings.
OpenAI has been testing this feature with some users for a while now, as consultant Gavriel Cohen noted on Twitter. ChatGPT provides users with two boxes to specify their chat preferences where users can write about themselves and about the way they want to tune the chatbot’s responses.
Once users key in their responses, the changes will take effect starting with the next session. The company said the limit for responses is 1,500 characters.
OpenAI said that the company uses its moderation API to scan customized instructions to check if they are unsafe in any nature. ChatGPT can refuse to save the instructions or ignore them if the responses resulted by those violate the company’s policy. This is to ensure users don’t type in instructions that lead to harmful or hateful answers from ChatGPT.
In May, OpenAI launched the ChatGPT app for iOS just for U.S.-based users. However, weeks after that announcement, the company expanded its availability to more than 40 countries. Last month, the startup launched an iPad app with support for Siri and Shortcuts. The company also added an option for users to search the web for answers through Bing from the ChatGPT app.