Microsoft Copilot Now Has GPT-4 Turbo for Free: What to Know

Mike Powers
Microsoft Copilot Now Has GPT-4 Turbo for Free: What to Know

Microsoft’s artificial intelligence assistant, Copilot, has received an upgrade to its free tier. GPT-4 Turbo, the OpenAI model that powers Copilot Pro, is now available if you use Copilot free. All you need to do is set Copilot to either Creative or Precise mode to gain access to GPT-4 Turbo.

If you subscribe to Copilot Pro, you’ll still have access to the GPT-4 Turbo model by default, but Microsoft advertising and web services CEO Mikhail Parakhin said March 12 in a post on X that those users can switch to older models if they choose.

“For free users of Copilot in Creative mode, GPT-4 Turbo is now powering that experience,” a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed in a statement. “Copilot Pro users remain able to toggle GPT-4 Turbo on or off in Creative mode.”

GPT-4 Turbo has been trained on data up to April 2023 and can also handle text-to-speech prompts, and its context window can accept 128,000 tokens — the highest amount offered in a GPT version. Tokens are pieces of words. The more tokens a model can accept, the more text a user can input into the model to provide additional context and get a better result.

Copilot was launched last year to add AI across Microsoft’s platforms. The AI assistant is available online and is also baked into Windows 11, the Bing search engine, Microsoft 365 and the Edge browser. Copilot’s Pro tier costs $20 per month and adds extra AI-powered features in Office apps, along with priority access to new OpenAI models and enhanced image-creation tools.

Microsoft last week also expanded Copilot to more people by putting it in the free Microsoft 365 web apps like Word and Outlook as part of Copilot Pro subscriptions, without you needing to have a Microsoft 365 subscription too. It will also be added to the Microsoft 365 app and Outlook on iOS and Android in the next few months.

Every tech company under the sun is finding ways to fold generative AI into its products, spurred by the arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot in late 2022. Google is experimenting with integrating AI into search and Samsung launched the Galaxy S24 smartphone earlier this year with a host of AI features. Apple has yet to announce a generative AI product, but has said it sees a “huge opportunity” and is excited about “what’s in store for us for the rest of the year.”

OpenAI, meanwhile, is now letting users build special-purpose AI apps. And its AI chatbot rivals, from Google Gemini to Anthropic’s Claude, continue to upgrade their offerings.

Is GPT-4.5 Turbo coming next?

It’s unclear why Microsoft decided to bring GPT-4 Turbo to its free Copilot tier. Microsoft intentionally offered a more-capable AI model in Copilot Pro to attract users to the paid version. By offering the same model in both the free and premium tier, those who would only subscribe to Copilot Pro for the better GPT option may otherwise stick to the free version.

That said, Microsoft’s decision could also be a tell. OpenAI is rumored to be working on a new model called GPT-4.5 Turbo. Although the company has been tight-lipped on future GPT iterations, Reddit users discovered earlier this week that OpenAI mistakenly published a blog post saying GPT-4.5 Turbo “surpasses GPT-4 Turbo in speed, accuracy and scalability.”

While that blog post was quickly removed from the OpenAI website, it would suggest an upgraded GPT model is coming soon. It would also suggest, if Microsoft indeed wants to differentiate its Copilot versions by offering the better model in its paid tier, that the company might be planning to bring GPT-4.5 Turbo to Copilot Pro, if and when the new model launches.

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