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How many MB in a GB?

Various digital data storage devices. Usb sticks, external hard drive, SD cards, mini and micro SD cards, laptop and smartphone

The terms megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB) can be confusing, especially if you are new to the gadget world. Megabytes and gigabytes are memory units that represent data for most devices like mobile phones, laptops, and PCs.

Before we go any further, to answer the question, how many MB are in a GB, there are 1,000MB in a GB. The amount of GB or gig of data you have on your SIM plan determines how much mobile data you have for that month.

Megabyte to gigabyte

Let’s dive deeper into megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB). We’ll start with the smallest unit: 1 byte.

A byte is a unit of digital information consisting of eight bits (binary digits). With data storage, there are two main approaches to measurement: the SI units and the binary prefixes.

The binary prefix system is mainly used in communication and information technology fields since computers work using binary (0s and 1s).

What does this mean? Well, according to the SI units, a kilo is 1,000 units. But, according to the binary system, a kilo is 1,024 units. It’s a bit confusing but stay with us.

The International System of Units (the SI units) uses the base power of ten, where the kilo equals 1,000, and the mega is 1,000,000. The prefix mega is 10^6. That signifies a factor of one million, with the unit symbol MB.

Hence, one megabyte (MB) is one million bytes (1,000,000) of information in the SI units system (decimals).

Megabytes are used to measure data for file sizes of documents, videos, and photos and storage devices like flash drives.

Gigabyte is from the Greek word γίγας, which means giant. In the SI, the unit prefix Giga is 10^9 bytes (1 billion). Its unit symbol is GB.

Fun fact, the first gigabyte (GB) capacity hard drive was the IBM 3380, which was introduced in 1980.

With larger storage devices being released nowadays, gigabytes are commonly used as a capacity measurement for those devices. You can use it to measure the data stored in computer files, hard disks (floppy disks), Blu-ray discs, video games, and solid-state drives (SSDs).

1,000MB vs 1,024MB?

Schematic shows various types of storage devices with different MB in a GB
Schematic shows various types of storage devices. Image source: Ishanka/Adobe

Remember the binary prefix system that assumes a kilo is 1,024 units? Well, it’s applicable here. While it is easy to think that there are 1,024MB in a GB, you’d be wrong. It’s actually 1,024MB in a GiB. GiB is spelled out as Gibibyte.

To avoid confusion, in 1998, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) made a principle that the kilobyte, megabyte and gigabyte, the SI unit standards, should strictly denote 1,000 bytes, 1,000,000 bytes and 1,000,000,000 bytes, respectively.

Kibibyte, mebibyte and gibibyte, the binary system equivalents, would represent; 1,024 bytes, 1,048,576 bytes, and 1,073,741,824 bytes, respectively.

So, for the SI units;

1 Kilobyte = 1,000 bytes, 1 Megabyte = 1,000KB (1,000,000 bytes), 1 Gigabyte = 1,000MB (1,000,000,000 bytes), 1 Terabyte = 1,000GB (1,000,000,000,000 bytes).

On the other hand, for the binary system;

1 bit = 0,1, Byte = 8 bits, 1 Kibibyte = 1,024 bytes, 1 Mebibyte = 1,024KB (1,048,576 bytes), 1 Gibibyte = 1,024MB (1,073,741,824 bytes), 1 Tebibyte = 1,024GB (1,099,511,627,776 bytes).

How to convert megabyte to gigabyte

DDR ram computer memory module isolated on white background with MB in a GB
DDR ram computer memory module isolated on white background. Image source: Maksym Yemelyanov/Adobe

If you are converting from KB to MB or MB to GB, you need to divide by 1,000. But, to convert GB to MB or MB to KB, you’ll multiply the amount in GB by 1,000.

A simple way of remembering is:

  • Bigger to smaller is multiplied by 1,000. Therefore, converting 1GB to MB on a hard disk space = 1000MB (1 X 1,000).
  • Smaller to bigger is divided by 1,000. Therefore, converting 1MB to GB on a hard disk space = 0.001GB (1/1,000).

For example, how many gigabytes (GB) are there in 4,000MB? That’ll be 4,000/1,000 = 4GB.

The megabyte-mebibyte dilema

Have you ever bought a 256GB SSD but realized it holds just 238GB of data? Or you got a 1TB hard drive and found 931GB? That right there is what the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was trying to avoid.

Normally, 1 MB (technically, it’s meant to be MiB) of data in computer storage (Binary system) = 1,024KB, while in hard disk storage = 1,000KB. But some hard drive manufacturers use the binary standard when advertising their data storage space instead of the SI units. This causes a slight discrepancy in the actual storage space available to the user and the storage space referenced while advertising.

Windows chooses to use the binary system for its operating system storage capacity, while Linux and macOS use the SI units(decimal system). It’s another slight thing to note in the never-ending Windows PC vs Apple MacBook debate.

FAQ

Is a terabyte bigger than a gigabyte?

Yes, it is. A terabyte consists of 1,000,000,000,000 bytes, while a gigabyte consists of 1,000,000,000 bytes.

What are the other units of computer memory asides from MB and GB?

Other computer memory units are Terabyte, Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, and Yottabyte.

What is a binary digit?

It is the smallest unit of information represented by 0 and 1.

64 GB equals how many MB?

According to the International System of Units, 64GB equals 64,000MB.

How many bytes are in a MB?

There are 1,000,000 bytes in a MB.

How many megabytes in two gigabytes?

Since one gigabyte equals 1,000MB, two gigabytes equal 2,000MB

Is 1 GB of mobile data enough for me?

This depends on the activities you carry out on your phone or computer. However, if you stream videos and audio content a lot, the 1GB is relatively small for you to use. The more data-intensive the activity, the more data it consumes.

Which is bigger, MB or GB?

GB is bigger than MB. A gigabyte contains 1,000MB, and a megabyte contains 1,000KB.

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Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.