Apple's built-in update tool is downloading iOS 7 before people even ask to install it, taking up space that can't be reclaimed.
While some users ran into difficulties trying to download iOS 7 just after it came out last week, a new problem has emerged for those who don't want the software.
Some users who are sticking with iOS 6 for the time being are discovering that their iOS devices have already downloaded the iOS 7 update, and that it cannot be removed from the device.
That download is not automatically installing the software, something that still requires user interaction.
The same thing happened last year with the built-in over-the-air update tool included in iOS 5, though iOS 7 weighs in at nearly 1GB for some users. That's a big deal for owners on 16GB devices, where the amount of storage users get out of the box is slightly less and can fill up quickly with HD video content and certain games.
CNET confirmed the behavior on both an iPhone 4 as well as a fourth-generation iPad, both of which were running the latest version of iOS 6 before 7 arrived. For the iPad, the download began within minutes of turning on the device and plugging it into A/C power. When finished on both devices, it accounted for a little more than 3GB of space that was previously available on the device, and did not show up in the storage management settings submenu.
Apple did not respond to requests for comment on the automatic download feature, which a CNET reader alerted us to this afternoon.
iOS 7 is a dramatic visual change from iOS 6, and brings new features like control center, iTunes Radio (in the US) and a revamped Siri. Nonetheless, some third-party apps still may not be compatible with the update, and users on older Apple devices -- particularly the iPhone 4 -- face slower performance on some tasks after upgrading.
Earlier this week, Apple noted that more than 200 million users were running iOS 7, marking the fastest iOS adoption ever. A tally late Wednesday from ad network Chitika estimated that more than half of all iOS users were on iOS 7, surpassing last year's iOS 6 in under a week.