kB to MB Calculator

Created by Sławomir Wojciechowski
Reviewed by Hanna Pamuła, PhD
Last updated: Jan 20, 2023

The kB to MB calculator is a simple tool that helps you to quickly convert kilobytes to megabytes using a binary system, but also a definition by the International System of Units (SI). Now you can easily find the answer: "is a kilobyte bigger than a megabyte?".

How the binary number system works? Is a kilobyte bigger than megabyte?

To answer the question of is an MB is bigger than a kB, we need to understand what the "byte" stand for and what a binary system is. All computers work using the binary system, which means only two digits are used to transcribe every piece of information. Machines either receive voltage (assigned value "1") or not (assigned value "0"). Thus any signal is processed using "0" and "1". This way, any number has been described by using only those two digits, for example:

  • 0 – means 0;
  • 1 – means 1;
  • 10 – means 2;
  • 11 – means 3;

and so on, adding additional "0" and "1" (4 is then expressed as 100, 5 is 101...)

  • 1001 – means 9; and
  • 1010 – means 10.

You can easily check how the binary system works (and also how many kB are in GB) with this binary converter.

Each digit, such as basic digits (0 or 1), is called a "bit" (from binary digit). A group of 8 bits is called a byte, the smallest addressable amount of memory in most computer architectures. 8 bits or 1 byte stands for at most for the value 1111 1111 = 255. Thus the system uses values from 0 to 255 (256 different values).

However, throughout the evolution of information technology, bytes turned out to be too small to allow computers to handle all processes. That's why computers needed to operate on higher numbers to process more complex duties. This means using more significant numbers that were still powers of 2, as in the example below:

  • 26 = 64 bytes = 512 bits;
  • 27 = 128 bytes = 1,024 bits;
  • 28 = 256 bytes = 2,048 bits;
  • 29 = 512 bytes = 4,096 bits;
  • 210 = 1024 bytes = 8,192 bits;

This sequence leads to 1 kilobyte standing for 1024 bytes in the binary system. By the same token, to know how many kB are in an MB, you need to multiply the MB value by 1024 kB.

How many kilobytes in a megabyte?

In parallel to the binary system, there is also a definition adopted by the International System of Units (SI) in which:

  • kilo – 1,000;
  • Mega – 1,000,000;
  • Giga – 1,000,000,000, and so on.

This way, 1,000 kB equals 1 MB, and 1,000 MB is 1 GB.

Although it may seem like a small difference, it does make a significant one when we operate with bigger numbers. We may get confused, for example, when buying a hard drive marked as 500 GB capacity. This would be, in fact, recognized by the computer using the binary numbering system (so Windows, older versions of macOS) as 476,837.2 MB (~465.66 GB), and not 512,000 MB (~500 GB). It is because manufacturers usually describe the devices using the SI definition, and many computers work using binary one.

The presented kB to MB calculator allows you to calculate kB and MB values using both systems.

For more calculations using the SI system, check out our byte conversion calculator, where you can calculate how many kilobytes are in a megabyte and other values at once(i.e., kB to MB, MB to kB, kB to GB, etc.).

Internet connection speed

The file size is usually expressed in megabytes (MB). Still, the speed of your Internet connection might also be expressed in kilobytes (often misspelled as "kylobytes"); you might also find it helpful to check out our calculator of download time. Learn how to use it by watching this video How long will it take to download...? The answer is here!

Sławomir Wojciechowski
Kilobytes
kB
Megabytes (binary)
MB
Megabytes (SI)
MB
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