Why are the storage options for devices like phones or laptops multiples of 16GB?


Why are the storage options for devices like phones or laptops multiples of 16GB?

In: Mathematics

It has to do with it having to be a multiple of 8. There are 8 digits in a bit of data. (Think 1 and 0s) 8 bits in a byte. And then it is always times 2. So 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048 etc.

They are generally always powers of two, which by nature will be multiples of 16 if above 16. This is because the powers of two are the numbers in binary of the form 100…0.

computers are based on a binary system so it goes up in powers of 2.

The math starts at two not sixteen but its:


so on and so forth right up to 1024 when we move to 1 Terrabyte.

Computer engineer here! Like others have mentioned, it’s actually because all storage capacity is a power of 2. This is actually because machine memory goes down to bits. One bit gives you 2 choices, 0 or 1. Adding another bit doubles those choices to 00, 01, 10, and 11. If you add another bit you have 8 choices instead of 4.
That’s why memory goes from 2GB to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32 to 64 to 128 to 256.

Memory in the 80’s went up by increasing increments of kilobytes, in powers of two as explained by others here. In the 90’s chips got smaller so you could fit megabytes where you could fit kilobytes. Then memory started to go up by gigabytes.
The flash memory for phones has been following the same pattern.
You’ll see phones in the future with 128/256 GB or greater increments, possibly.

Flash memory as is found on smartphones, is made in modular chips. You can add more chips to increase the total size, and since in this example 16GB is the base amount, each module is 16GB.