The Info List - Mebibyte

The mebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information.[1] The binary prefix mebi means 220, therefore one mebibyte is equal to 1048576bytes = 1024 kibibytes. The unit symbol for the mebibyte is MiB. Technically a megabyte (MB) is a power of ten, while a mebibyte (MiB) is a power of two, appropriate for binary machines. The unit was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998.[2] It was designed to replace the megabyte when used in the binary sense to mean 220 bytes, which conflicts with the definition of the prefix mega in the International System of Units (SI) as a multiplier of 106. The binary prefixes have been accepted by all major standards organizations and are part of the International System of Quantities.[3] Many Linux distributions
Linux distributions
use the unit, but it is not widely acknowledged within the industry or media.[4][5][6][7] One thousand twenty-four mebibytes (1024 MiB) is equal to one gibibyte (1 GiB).

v t e

Multiples of bytes


Value Metric

1000 kB kilobyte

10002 MB megabyte

10003 GB gigabyte

10004 TB terabyte

10005 PB petabyte

10006 EB exabyte

10007 ZB zettabyte

10008 YB yottabyte



1024 KiB kibibyte KB kilobyte

10242 MiB mebibyte MB megabyte

10243 GiB gibibyte GB gigabyte

10244 TiB tebibyte –

10245 PiB pebibyte –

10246 EiB exbibyte –

10247 ZiB zebibyte –

10248 YiB yobibyte –

Orders of magnitude of data


1 Definition 2 History and usage 3 See also 4 References


1 MiB = 220 bytes = 1024 kibibytes = 1048576bytes

The prefix mebi is a binary prefix derived from the words mega and binary, indicating its origin in the closeness in value to the SI prefix mega. One mebibyte (MiB) is 220, i.e. 1024 × 1024 bytes,[8] or 1048576bytes. Despite its official status, the unit mebibyte is not commonly used even when reporting byte counts calculated in binary multiples, but is often represented as megabytes. Formally, one megabyte denotes 1000 × 1000 bytes. The discrepancy may cause confusion, since operating systems using the binary method report lower numerical values for storage size than advertised by manufacturers, such as disk drive manufacturers who strictly use decimal units. History and usage[edit] The binary prefixes, including mebi, were defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in December 1998. All major standards bodies have endorsed the use of them for binary multiples. The mebibyte is closely related to the megabyte. The latter term is often used as a synonym for mebibyte, but it formally refers to 1000 kilobytes, or 1,000,000 bytes. The binary prefix mebi, which is a factor of 220, was created to provide an unambiguous unit that is distinct from the metric SI prefix
SI prefix
mega (M). Binary prefixes are becoming more predominant in scholarly literature, descriptions of computer hardware and open source software.[9][10] Many operating systems compute file size in mebibytes, but report the number as MB (megabytes). For example, all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system show a file of 220 bytes as "1.00 MB" or "1,024 KB" in its file properties dialog and show a file of 106 (1000000) bytes as 976 KB. All versions of Apple's operating systems had the same behavior until 2009 with Mac OS X version 10.6, which instead uses megabytes for all file and disk sizes, so it reports a 106 byte file as 1 MB.[11][12] The Ubuntu developer Canonical implemented an updated units policy in 2010 and as of Ubuntu 10.10 all versions now adhere to the IEC binary prefix for base-2 units and the SI prefix
SI prefix
for base-10 units.[13] See also[edit]

IEEE 1541 Orders of magnitude (data)


^ International Electrotechnical Commission
International Electrotechnical Commission
(January 2010). "IEC 60050 - International Electrotechnical Vocabulary - Details for IEV number 112-01-27". Retrieved 2011-06-19.  ^ International Electrotechnical Commission
International Electrotechnical Commission
(January 1999), IEC 60027-2 Amendment 2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology - Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics.[1] ^ "IEC 80000-13:2008". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 21 July 2013.  ^ Upgrading and Repairing PCs, Scott Mueller, Pg. 596, ISBN 0-7897-2974-1 ^ The silicon web: physics for the Internet age, Michael G. Raymer, Pg. 40, ISBN 978-1-4398-0311-0 ^ Knuth: Recent News. Cs-staff.stanford.edu. Retrieved on 2011-01-07. ^ Atwood, Jeff. (2007-09-10) Gigabyte: Decimal
vs. Binary. Coding Horror. Retrieved on 2011-01-07. ^ "Definition of NIST binary". Ziff-Davis. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-31.  ^ HDD Turns 50 Years Today - The Chronicles ^ Backman, R. B. (2004). The Description, Evolution, and Applications of Binary Prefixes. ^ "How Mac OS X reports drive capacity". Apple Inc.
Apple Inc.
2009-08-27. Retrieved 2009-10-16.  ^ David Pogue (2011), Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual Missing Manual, Oreilly Series, O'Reilly Media, pp. 473–474, ISBN 978-1-4493-9749-4  ^ "Ubuntu UnitsPolicy". Ubuntu. 2010. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 

v t e

Units of information

Base unit


Platform-dependent units

nibble byte syllable parcel word

Platform-independent units

unibit (1) dibit (2) tribit (3) quadbit (4)

quartet (4) sextet (6) octet (8) hextet (16)

declet (10) doublet (16) quadlet (32) octlet (64) hexlet (128)

triad (3) tetrad (4) pentad (5) hexad (6) heptad (7) octad (8)

slab (12) catena (24)

Traditional bit units

kilobit megabit gigabit terabit petabit exabit zettabit yottabit

Traditional byte units

kilobyte megabyte gigabyte terabyte petabyte exabyte zettabyte yottabyte

IEC bit units

kibibit mebibit gibibit tebibit pebibit exbibit zebibit yobibit

IEC byte units

kibibyte mebibyte gibibyte tebibyte pebibyte exbibyte zebib