4 Easy Hacks to Get ChatGPT Plus’ GPT-4 Model for Free

Want to try GPT-4 for free? It normally costs $20 a month, but you don't have to pay a penny if you know the right methods.

Like it or loathe it, there’s no getting away from ChatGPT these days. OpenAI’s wildly popular AI chatbot is being talked about everywhere in 2024, from the meeting room to the barroom.

However, many people are still only familiar with using ChatGPT’s entry-level GPT-3.5 model. This is the version that’s available for free on the ChatGPT website, while the more advanced GPT-4 engine is locked behind a ChatGPT Plus subscription.

This costs $20 a month, and while you can easily part with that for little more than a coffee and a pastry in many major US cities these days, it’s also still not pocket change.

Fortunately, there are ways you use GPT-4 for free. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get free GPT-4 access, so you can test out its capabilities for yourself and see if paying for that premium ChatGPT account is right for you.

Can You Really Use GPT-4 Free Without a ChatGPT Plus Subscription?

In a word, yes. There are a limited number of ways to use GPT-4 free, but they do exist if you know where to look. They range from relatively easy to access (Microsoft Copilot and Bing) to slightly more tricky, but we’re going to show all of the ones we had success with using ourselves.

The best free GPT-4 hacks are thanks to Microsoft, whose close relationship with ChatGPT owner OpenAI is no secret. The Redmond-based tech giant plowed a cool $10 billion in the AI startup back in January 2023, and among other things, its sizeable investment seems to have given it first dibs on OpenAI’s latest large language models (LLMs).

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An LLM is what GPT-4 technically is, though as we’ve said, you can just think of it as the engine driving the AI chatbot you actually interact with on your screen, if AI jargon isn’t your thing.

Previously, there were even more ways to use GPT-4 for free. These included Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo’s Poe AI tool. However, Poe and others have since gone behind paywalls themselves, meaning we’re now down to four verifiable ways you can get the best of ChatGPT without paying a penny, plus one wild card.

Let’s get started.

1) How to Use GPT-4 and DALL-E 3 Free with Microsoft Copilot

In practice, Microsoft’s cozy relationship with OpenAI means that even the free version of Microsoft’s own Copilot AI chatbot runs GPT-4. As you can see, it even comes complete with many of the bells and whistles you get with a full ChatGPT Pro subscription, like integration with DALL-E 3, one of the best AI image generators.

To get started, first you need to go to the Microsoft Copilot website.

From there, you can actually jump straight in to asking Copilot questions if you want. Here, I tested it with a quite specific question on postcolonial literary theory. I’ve always wanted to actually use that BA in English Literature and it’s great it’s only taken me 13 years to successfully deploy it in a professional context.

Screenshot of Microsoft Copilot AI responding to question using GPT-4 large language model

After a couple of responses, Copilot will inevitably prompt you to sign in to (or create) a Microsoft account. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, as being signed in and using Copilot unlocks free DALLE-3 access.

You can either wait for Copilot to ask you to log in, or take the initiative and head to the “Sign in” box located in the top right-hand corner of the Copilot homepage.

Microsoft Copilot homepage with Sign in box highlighted

From there, follow the prompts and log in with your Microsoft details, or create an account if you need to. That will then get you full access to the (still free) version of Copilot with no limit on prompts/questions, and DALL-E 3 integration.

It’s worth reiterating this is one of the better AI image tools around, given that some of its rivals like Google Gemini have suffered high-profile fails recently. I fed Copilot a relatively simple image prompt, but its output was nevertheless competent and looked slicker than when I’ve tested other tools with similarly uncomplicated requests.

All in all, if you want to check out what GPT-4 is capable of, then Copilot is the obvious and best place to start. Honestly, based on my experience, for most casual users the Copilot Pro tier isn’t necessary. Sure, it has faster response times, which can be handy if you’re making loads of images, but unless you’re using it in a time-sensitive business environment it’s unlikely to be an issue.

Copilot is also available as a dedicated app for Android and iOS, meaning you can also use GPT-4 free on your iPhone and practically any other smartphone you’re likely to own.

2) How to Use GPT-4 Free in Microsoft Bing

This is two sides of the same coins, really, but Microsoft’s Bing search engine also integrates full Copilot AI smarts and offers another simple, streamlined way to use GPT-4 for free.

The advantage (and key difference) here is that if you’re using Bing as your primary interface with the internet, it means you input prompts and ask questions straight in the search bar.

The really cool thing is, if Bing detects an AI prompt, it will include a GPT-4 powered Copilot response right in your search results. Alternatively, if you click the Copilot button instead of just smacking your Enter key, Bing will open Copilot in its own window for you.

Screenshot of Microsoft Bing search engine featuring integrated Copilot GPT-4 AI response

As with using Copilot through its standalone website, accessing Copilot and therefore GPT-4 through Bing also lets you use DALL-E 3 free. Here’s another quick test I ran, just to check it was indeed outputting the same quality as on the chatbot’s own site.

Screenshot of Copilot used through Bing showing free DALL-E 3 image generation and GPT-4 features

You’ll also find Bing apps for iOS and Android, giving you the same functionality and GPT-4 access on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

3) How to Try GPT-4 Free in Perplexity AI

Moving on from Microsoft? Well, sort of. Perplexity AI is a promising platform that bills itself as a conversational AI search engine. Not long ago, its AI responses were drawn exclusively from Copilot and therefore GPT-4.

Now, toggling on its “Pro” search option unlocks responses powered by either GPT-4 or Anthropic’s Claude AI (currently Claude 2.1, but presumably soon Claude 3). The choice is yours, and Perplexity is also working on its own homebrewed Experimental 70b Model, which you can also try with Pro.

The catch? Things called “Pro” usually have a price attached to them and that is indeed the case with Perplexity Pro. However, free users get one Pro conversation every four hours on the house, while Perplexity Pro offers a free 7-day trial to anyone interested in taking our a yearly plan.

Crucially, I was able to confirm that you don’t pay upfront for the Pro plan so as long as you cancel in good time, you won’t be out of pocket, even temporarily.

Perplexity Pro AI billing screen showing free trial details

Is it worth it? The only way to know for sure is to try it for yourself, but based on my experience it’s worth considering. Namely, you get two premium AI models (Claude and GPT-4) for the same price you’d pay for a GPT Plus subscription, which is definitely appealing.

In terms of the competence of its responses, it did an OK job summarizing affordable restaurants in London. It would have been nice if its “conversational” powers extended to asking if I wanted an itinerary made, even better if this was provided by default.

However, the list itself was accurately and I can vouch by a number of its picks for great budget eats in the UK capital. Here’s lookin’ at you, Roti King…

Screenshot of Perplexity AI responding to question

4) Merlin

Merlin is a handy ChatGPT Chrome extension that basically bakes GPT-4 powers into your browser. When installed, you simply fire Merlin up with CTRL + M command (or CMD + M on Apple computers), then you use it for a variety of purposes including engaging in standard AI chatbot conversations.

For these, Merlin operates a credit system whereby you can generate a GPT-4 response for 30 credits, compared to 1x credit for GPT-3.5. You get 102 free credits every day, but they don’t roll over if they go unused.

Better still, Merlin now lets you use your credits to generate responses from AI models, including the all-new Claude 3 Opus, which is Anthropic’s would-be ChatGPT killer. You can also interact with Gemini, Mistral AI (aka Le Chatbot) and many more.

Merlin really comes into its own as an AI extension for quickly summarizing webpages, the option for which appears automatically if you’ve got the plugin enabled.

It’s completely different to the other entries in this guide and, as well as allowing you to use GPT-4 free more than just the once, it lets you do a bunch of other useful stuff too.

You can download and install the extension from the Merlin website.

Screenshot of Merlin Chrome ChatGPT extension with GPT-4 access

Can You Use GPT-4 for Free on Hugging Face?

A final way that some people say you can get GPT-4 free is on open source AI and machine learning community Hugging Face.

A number of its ‘Spaces’ say they integrate the GPT-4 model, though in my testing I wasn’t happy that enough (or any) of them actively and consistently worked as promised. I therefore can’t fully recommend it, compared to the more reliable tools outlined above.

That said, your mileage with Hugging Face and GPT-4 may vary. It’s a cool place regardless, so check it out by all means.

Screenshot of GPT-4 Spaces on open source AI community Hugging Face website

Want to learn more about ChatGPT in general? Check out our full ChatGPT tutorial guide for all the tips and tricks you need to master the AI platform.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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