iPhone 4S storage capacity doesn’t match
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I believe that Apple is counting the 5 GB iCloud allocation as part of the 64 GB total storage on my shiny new 4S since it actually only comes with 57GB—not 64 GB as advertised. That is unless the iOS 5 actually requires 7 GB of space. The only problem with the 5 GB in the cloud is that for folks like myself who prefer to keep photos and documents on a separate hard drive, it’s pretty much useless space as you are unable to choose what may be stored, outside of the set parameters. I’d be interested in finding out if I am correct.
A: Actually, the 5GB of iCloud storage has nothing to do with it. What you’re actually seeing here is a long-standing problem between how data storage is measured by hardware manufacturers versus software manufacturers. Essentially, since computer software is based on binary storage, which uses factors of two, a kilobyte is not actually 1,000 bytes, but 1,024 bytes. By extension, a megabyte is 1,024 kilobytes (or 1,048,576 bytes), a gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes (1,073,741,824 bytes), and so on.
By comparison, hardware manufacturers have been using the decimal values for years (kilo=1000, mega=1,000,000, etc), and this applies to everything from computer hard drives to flash memory cards to the storage in iPods and iPhones and other electronic devices. To a flash memory chip manufacturer, a 64GB memory chip stores 64,000,000,000 bytes, whereas to computer software, a 64GB memory chip should store 68,719,476,736 bytes. Ergo, a 64GB (64,000,000,000 byte) memory chip is actually only 59.6 GB as far as the software is concerned. Add the overhead for iOS itself—which is actually stored in a separate partition—- and that leaves about 57.4 GB free.
This problem is not unique to iOS devices or even Apple. Every storage manufacturer uses the decimal, base-10 prefixes, while software always uses the binary, base-2 versions. You’ll find the same issue with the hard drive in your PC or Mac. There has been an attempt to use a different set of prefixes to refer to the binary calculations in order to make it clearer which units are being referred to, but sadly this has not widely caught on.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Hackers claim to have access to millions of iCloud accounts, demand ransom from Apple
- Apple’s Siri in the running to voice control room functions at Marriott’s Aloft hotels
- Apple releases iTunes 12.6 with new cross-device movie rental feature
- Apple introduces Clips video app
- Apple reveals(RED) iPhone 7, 7 Plus models, doubles storage of iPhone SE
- Apple drops 32GB iPad mini 4, reduces price of 128GB model and discontinues iPad mini 2
- Apple unveils new upgraded entry-level 9.7” iPad, replacing iPad Air 2
- Apple Store going down for ‘maintenance’ tomorrow morning, sparking rumors of product launch
- Politicians in New Zealand raise alarm about Apple’s tax arrangements
- Fabricate announces Nearbuds for AirPods
- Blue Sadie Headphones
- Circle with Disney Parental Control and Internet Filtering System
- Pioneer Rayz Plus Lightning Connector Earphones
- BEEM United BeMe D200 Lightning Connector Earphones
- Jam Audio JAM Xterior Max Rugged Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- HiFiMAN Edition S Headphones
- Divoom Timebox Mini Bluetooth Speaker
- iClever BoostSound BTS-09 Bluetooth Speaker
- Soundcast VG1 Bluetooth Speaker
- PureGear PureSwitch HomeKit-enabled Wireless Smart Plug
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10