Beta is a label applied to software that is in a testing phase prior to final release.

Unlike alpha software, beta software is generally considered to be "feature complete"; that is, it is anticipated that the feature set is more or less in place and that the final release should contain only bug fixes and perhaps performance optimizations. Adhering to this guideline often requires a bit of discipline as there is often pressure to introduce new features at all stages of the development cycle; sometimes new features are added during the beta cycle when their omission has such an impact on usability or functionality that it could be considered a bug.

After the beta phase software may proceed directly to final release, or in some cases it goes through a release candidate process.