by Frank Marino for Jen Lew Marketing & Design

KB, MB, GB, and TB. These are a family of “bytes” and its pretty darn important to know about and its hierarchy.  When using your computer, cellphone, tablet, or anything that relies on digital storage. There are many more “bytes” out there, but these four are the most used and seen by consumers.

The most common question is which measurement is larger than the next and how much data do I need to use on my cell phone. So for examples of sizes here is a breakdown in terms of usage on a mobile phone. From smallest to largest they are in this order: KB < MB < GB < TB
Kilobyte (KB) is the smallest measurement (small photos, documents and low storage apps),

Megabyte (MB) is next size up (music data, videos, photography and apps with larger data) songs or videos on your cell, gigabyte the largest measurement on mobile phones – your phone is measured in Gigabytes such as variations of iOS devices 16G or 32G.

These units pop up everywhere besides cell phones, so what are they, and what is the point of them?

Essentially, there are “bits” of digital information that are then grouped into bytes. Bits are the 0’s and 1’s, or binary digits, in English. Binary digits are the language of computers. A kilobyte, KB, has 1024 bytes. You don’t see many files or items that take up 1KB of space, but things that would have a KB label include your average Microsoft Word document, Excel spreadsheet, and some Powerpoints. Depending on the amount and density of the pictures (and other media) in your Powerpoint, you could be looking at a couple of MB’s. Wait, what are those?

A megabyte, MB, is 1024 KB. MB is the next step above KB (Kilobyte). Applications for smartphones and tablets and digital songs usually have “such-and-such” MB. Depending on the size of the update, updates to programs can hover in this region as well. A gigabyte, GB, is when you start hitting the big leagues. 1 GB = 1024 MB and GB are usually seen as the unit of measurement for computer software, hard drives, and lengthy HD videos. So the next time you need a new tablet and see that is has 64 GB inside, you will know that you will be able to store many, many, many documents on it, and all the Angry Birds games you can find. A terabyte, TB, can be seen as a little much for the average consumer, but for media junkies and hardcore gamers, a couple (maybe even several) TB are needed to keep themselves satisfied. 1 TB is equal to 1024 GB. There isn’t really a type of file or single item that takes up a TB, at least not anything I’m cognizant of.

External hard drives and even some computers’ internal hard drives carry the TB moniker. Just know that they store A LOT of stuff.

Like any other unit of measurement system, there isn’t just that one prefix unit (kilo-byte, in this case) because we like to keep the numbers low when we can so we don’t end up with a video file that is 1,000,000+ KB… You get the idea.

KB < MB < GB < TB and TB > GB > MB > KB. This is the key to being a content (and knowledgeable) media consumer.