In one sentence, a megabyte is a million bytes.
That’s all well and good. But what does that actually mean, in simple terms?
Let’s find out…
The Simple Definition of a Megabyte
What on earth is one of those Megabytes?
- Monster munch?
- A mysterious digital product?
- Something to make your voice louder?
It’s so tempting to get very technical here, and talk about…
But because this is known as Tech it Easy for a reason, I’ll make it very simple.
Definition of a Megabyte
As I said earlier, a megabyte is one million bytes.
Easy, isn’t it.
But I can hear your next question…
“But what’s a byte?”
What’s a Byte?
A byte is like a word. A digital word.
It’s made up of 8 bits.
Oh, come on, David. What’s a bit, then?
What’s a Bit?
A bit is either a 1 or a 0.
Yup. Ones and noughts.
That’s how computers talk.
You can read about that in much more detail on my personal blog, here at DavidWithington.com.
But back to bits and bobs.
Oops! I mean bits and bytes.
A Byte Example
Let me give you an example of a byte:
And here’s another:
Did you notice they’re made up of 8 bits?
Yup, 8 ones and noughts.
Eight simple digits!
How We Get a Megabyte
Now if you take a million of those bytes and lay them end to end, you’ll have…
You guessed it…
Often, it’s written down as 1MB.
So the next time someone emails you a photo that’s 3MB in size, you’ll know that it’s 3 million of those 8-bit bytes.
Why is a Megabyte NOT a Megabyte?
Get talking with some techie people and they’ll tell you a megabyte is actually a bit more than a million because it’s based on binary.
In fact, that’s why you might buy a pen-drive and see a conflict between what the package says and what your computer tells you.
One tells you it’s slightly smaller than the other.
But there’s absolutely no need to worry about that slight difference…
It’s only because humans use decimal numbers and computers use binary.
But today, let’s keep it simple.
Let’s Tech it Easy.
A Bit More Technical?
If you want to explore a bit deeper about binary, decimal and hexadecimal, I’ve written more about the topic in the article How Computers Talk.
And if you want to join us in a Tech it Easy workshop – where we make techie stuff practical and simple, so that anyone can understand and use it – here’s where you can find out where and when they are.
Hey! Life’s too complex not to Tech it Easy!