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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

The kibibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information.[1] The binary prefix kibi means 210, or 1024; therefore, 1 kibibyte is 1024 bytes. The unit symbol for the kibibyte is KiB.

The unit was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998,[2] has been accepted for use by all major standards organizations, and is part of the International System of Quantities.[3] The kibibyte was designed to replace the kilobyte in those computer science contexts in which the term kilobyte is used to mean 1024 bytes. The interpretation of kilobyte to denote 1024 bytes, conflicting with the SI definition of the prefix kilo (1000), used to be common.[4]


The unit prefix kibi specifies multiplication by 210 (1024). It was derived as a portmanteau from the words kilo and binary, indicating its origin in the closeness in value to the SI prefix kilo (1000). While the SI prefix is written with lowercase (k), all IEC binary prefixes start with an uppercase letter.[5]

Therefore, the definition of the kibibyte is:

1 kibibyte (KiB) = 210 bytes = 1024 bytes.

The next larger unit of information in the sequence with IEC binary prefixes is the mebibyte (MiB) (220 bytes):

1024 kibibytes = 1 mebibyte.

IEC specification 80000-13 defines one byte as 8 bits (1 B = 8 bit). Therefore,

1 kibibyte = 8192 bits.


The kibibyte is closely related to the kilobyte, which equals 1000 bytes, as the prefix kilo is defined in the International System of Units. The kibibyte was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998,[2]

Prior to the definition of the binary prefixes, the kilobyte represented 1024 bytes in some fields of computer science, but was sometimes used to mean exactly one thousand bytes. When describing random access memory, it typically meant 1024 bytes, but when describing disk drive storage, it meant 1000bytes.[6] The errors associated with this ambiguity are relatively small (2.4%).

In 1995, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry's Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols attempted to resolve this ambiguity by proposing a set of binary prefixes for the powers of 1024.[7][8] After adopting the proposal, the IEC published the standard in January 1999.[9][10]

In 1999, Donald Knuth suggested calling the kibibyte a "large kilobyte" (KKB).[11]

Despite the formal adoption of the kibibyte, kilobyte continues to be used to mean 1024 bytes in some product advertising and computing vernacular.[12][13][14][15]

See also


  1. ^ International Electrotechnical Commission (2007). "Prefixes for binary multiples". Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b International Electrotechnical Commission (January 1999), IEC 60027-2 Amendment 2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology - Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics
  3. ^ "IEC 80000-13:2008". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Definitions of the SI units: The binary prefixes". Retrieved .
  5. ^ National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Prefixes for binary multiples". Retrieved .
  6. ^ NIST "Prefixes for binary multiples"
  7. ^ IUCr 1995 Report - IUPAC Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols (IDCNS)
  8. ^ "Binary Prefix" University of Auckland Department of Computer Science
  9. ^ NIST "Prefixes for binary multiples"
  10. ^ Amendment 2 to IEC International Standard IEC 60027-2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology - Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics.
  11. ^ "What is a kilobyte?". Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Safier vs WDC complaint". Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Grainger, Brian (7 August 2005). "I've got a bigger gigabyte than you!". Independent Computer Products Users Group (ICPUG). Retrieved .
  14. ^ Barry Wittman; Aditya Mathur; Tim Korb (30 December 2012). Start Concurrent: An Introduction to Problem Solving in Java with a Focus on Concurrency, 2013 Edition. Purdue University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-55753-672-3. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ "Our Customer Terms" (PDF). Telstra. p. 7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 Sep 2020. Retrieved 2020.

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