A byte is a unit of measurement of the size of information on a computer or other electronic device. A single typed character (for example, 'x' or '8') measures one byte. A single byte generally holds eight bits (bits are, in turn, the smallest unit of storage on a computer, meaning what atoms mean for matter). Bytes are often represented by the letter B.

Historically, bytes have been used to encode text characters. Most of the time, this was done using eight bits per byte, but other numbers of bits were also used. To describe the byte that uses 8 bits, computer scientists talk about octet. EBCDIC is a character encoding used mainly on mainframe computers that uses 8 bits per byte, ASCII is another encoding that uses only seven bits.

When used as a measurement, the byte is basically measuring how many numbers a computer (or electronics device) can hold. This is useful for things like RAM in a computer, or storage devices like USB drives and other types of Flash memory. Sending of data (for a modem or wi-fi) is usually measured in bits, not bytes.

One byte is usually equal to eight bits. Some very early computers had bytes with different numbers of bits. An octet is always eight bits. In modern usage, an octet and a byte are the same.


The symbol for "byte" is "B". Sometimes a lowercase "b" is used, but this use is incorrect because "b" is actually the IEEE symbol for "bit". The IEC symbol for bit is bit. For example, "MB" means "megabyte" and "Mbit" means "megabit". The difference is important because 1 megabyte (MB) is 1,000,000 bytes, and 1 megabit (Mbit) is 1,000,000 bits or 125,000 bytes. It's easy to confuse the two, but bits are much smaller than bytes, so the symbol "bit" should be used when referring to "bits" and an uppercase "B" when referring to "bytes".

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Greep
Alemannisch: Byte
Ænglisc: Bita
العربية: بايت
অসমীয়া: বাইট
asturianu: Byte
azərbaycanca: Bayt
تۆرکجه: بایت
বাংলা: বাইট
Bân-lâm-gú: Byte
башҡортса: Байт
беларуская: Байт
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Байт
български: Байт
bosanski: Bajt
català: Byte
čeština: Bajt
dansk: Byte
Deutsch: Byte
eesti: Bait
Ελληνικά: Byte
English: Byte
español: Byte
Esperanto: Bajto
euskara: Byte
فارسی: بایت
français: Byte
galego: Byte
한국어: 바이트
հայերեն: Բայթ
हिन्दी: बाइट
hrvatski: Bajt
Bahasa Indonesia: Bita
interlingua: Byte
íslenska: Bæti
italiano: Byte
עברית: בית (מחשב)
Basa Jawa: Bita
ქართული: ბაიტი
қазақша: Байт
Кыргызча: Байт
ລາວ: ໄບຕ໌
latviešu: Baits
Lëtzebuergesch: Byte
lietuvių: Baitas
lumbaart: Byte
magyar: Byte
македонски: Бајт
മലയാളം: ബൈറ്റ്
Bahasa Melayu: Bait
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘိုက် (ကွန်ပျူတာ)
Nederlands: Byte
norsk: Byte
norsk nynorsk: Byte i informatikk
occitan: Byte
олык марий: Байт
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Bayt (toʻplam)
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਬਾਈਟ
پنجابی: بائٹ
پښتو: بايټ
polski: Bajt
português: Byte
română: Byte
русский: Байт
Scots: Byte
shqip: Bajti
sicilianu: Byte
slovenčina: Bajt
slovenščina: Bajt
српски / srpski: Бајт
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bajt
svenska: Byte
தமிழ்: பைட்டு
తెలుగు: బైట్
ไทย: ไบต์
тоҷикӣ: Байт
Türkçe: Bayt
українська: Байт
اردو: بائٹ
Tiếng Việt: Byte
Winaray: Byte
粵語: 字節
中文: 字节