Golden Master

What Does Golden Master Mean?

Golden master is a stage in the software release cycle in which the software is in its full and final development stage and is ready to be delivered to the customer or to be published commercially. The term was initially coined by Apple Computers to specify software products that have passed the entire production/development and testing phases.


Golden master is also known as the release to manufacture (RTM) version and the gold version.

Techopedia Explains Golden Master

Golden master is the final version of software development, succeeding alpha, beta or other software development versions. Typically, the golden master doesn’t require any further programming or testing and can be readily used. However, digital signing might be required to ensure the software’s integrity and authenticity. This version is generally sent to the manufacturing department, where it is replicated into numerous copies. Besides Apple, most software companies and producers of software-enabled products use the term golden master or gone gold to indicate software that is ready to be delivered to end users.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.