OpenAI-based ‘MacWhisper’ could meet all your transcription needs

One of the most useful Mac apps derived from work involving ChatGPT is called MacWhisper. Available for Apple Silicon Macs, it’s an effective transcription application with plenty of potential; it would be a handy tool for any journalist, student, or business pro.

What is MacWhisper?

MacWhisper is a highly accurate transcription application built atop OpenAI’s Whisper transcription technology. Whisper was released in September 2022, but use of the software was complex and required use of Terminal.

MacWhisper relies on that underlying tech and puts it in a usable tool you can download directly from the developer, Jordi Bruin, or from the Apple App Store.

At present, it replaces my former favorite tool for this task. The latter lost me when the developer chose to make it difficult to download your older transcripts. I’m resistant to that kind of shakedown, so I had been searching for a replacement. MacWhisper is that replacement.

What does MacWhisper do?

To use it, you drop audio files onto the application, and it transcribes it for you at up to 15x faster than playing it back in real time. The entire process takes place on the Mac, no audio leaves the device, and 100 languages are supported.

Once the transcription takes place, you can export it in several formats, search it, sync audio to the transcript for checking, and edit the results before you export them.

The fact that the transcription takes place entirely on the Mac is critical. Other transcription solutions require the audio to be processed in the cloud. That’s fine, some of the time, but not acceptable at all when handling audio that contains protected, sensitive, or confidential material; MacWhsiper means your audio cannot be leaked if your cloud service is hacked.

That on-device processing makes this app suitable for use in regulated or sensitive industries — though you’ll want IT to check the software through corporate security policies first.

The developer says he’s working on automatic live transcription for meetings, automatic removal of words like umm or ah, podcast transcription and more.

Is there a paid version?

Bruin also offers a paid version of the application, called MacWhisper Pro. This version is even more accurate (it uses OpenAI’s more intensive AI) and has the powerful capacity to translate audio files into other languages.

That’s incredibly impressive and should be useful to anyone working across multiple business units, or who’s tasked with providing transcripts of important speeches or meetings in multiple languages.

The upcoming MacWhisper Pro 2.0 also seems to offer the capacity to transcribe audio from YouTube URLs, which will probably be valuable to media monitoring agencies.

That’s not bad for just $11 — though the price will increase with v.2.0.

What’s it like to use MacWhisper?

I’ve been using MacWhisper for a few weeks, and I’m very impressed. It’s accurate most of the time, with any occasional inaccuracies usually reflecting indistinct voices or rarely used technical expressions.  

I have experienced some unexpected crashes using the free version, though. I think these reflect me running too many simultaneous processes, as the developer warns the application requires at least 8GB of memory.

Bottom line?

MacWhisper looks like a great application for a wide range of users across multiple professions. The free version is powerful and accurate, while the Pro version seems on track to get additional features regularly as Bruin dreams them up.

The developer has also developed an application called MacGPT, which puts ChatGPT access directly int the Mac Menu bar, and MacBing, which does the same for Bing.

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