Golden Master

A golden master, or GM, is the final version of a software program that is sent to manufacturing and is used to make retail copies of the software. The golden master follows several other stages in the software development process including the alpha, beta, and release candidate stages. The final release candidate (RC) becomes the "release to manufacturing" (RTM) version, which is also called the golden master.

The term "golden master" has been used by Apple for many years, and is now used by many other software companies as well. It is also used in the video game industry to refer to the final version of games that are sent to replication facilities. When a program reaches the golden master stage, it is often said to have "gone gold." This means it won't be long before the product is available to consumers for retail purchase.

NOTE: Golden master should not be confused with a "gold record," which refers to a music album that has sold 500,000 copies.

Updated September 16, 2009 by Per C.

quizTest Your Knowledge

QBE is a user-friendly method of creating what?

SQL queries
HTML emails
Dynamic websites
Mobile apps
Correct! Incorrect!     View the QBE definition.
More Quizzes →

The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

The definition of Golden Master on this page is an original definition written by the team. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, please use the green citation links above.

The goal of is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about this definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.