Home : Software Terms : Golden Master Definition

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

Cite this definition:


TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of Golden Master. It explains in computing terminology what Golden Master means and is one of many software terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Golden Master definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!

Subscribe to the TechTerms Newsletter to get featured terms and quizzes right in your inbox. You can choose to receive either a daily or weekly email.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe at any time.
Questions? Please contact us.