If you’re still running the ageing iPhone 4, Apple has made a big effort to improve the handset with its recently-released iOS 7.1. Though iOS 7.0 had lagged on the fourth-generation smartphone, the updated mobile OS performs a lot better and could help you squeeze a few more months out of the handset until the next-generation iPhone 6 hits the market.

The news comes in a recent article from Ars Technica, which examined the performance of an iOS 7.1-powered iPhone 4 versus iPhone 4 handsets running both iOS 6.1.3 and iOS 7.0. While iOS 7.0 had resulted in slower loading times for iOS applications, the new iOS 7.1 decreases loading times and sees certain apps launch almost as quickly as they would under iOS 6.1.3. It might not be a perfect solution, but this nevertheless “makes the iPhone 4 feel more responsive than it did, if not always as responsive as it once was,” the publication notes.

Ars Technica explained:

There’s a measurable improvement over iOS 7.0 across all of these apps, some more noticeable than others. In a few instances, iOS 7.1 very nearly catches up with iOS 6.1.3, which is impressive given the gap between the two operating systems in some of these apps. It’s not a complete recovery from the original iOS 7.0 release, but it’s about as good as Apple can do with hardware this old (…).

You can check on the findings in the below chart, where the publication lists iPhone 4 load times for stock iOS applications under iOS 6.1.3, iOS 7.0, and iOS 7.1. For every app, load times have been reduced under the newer mobile OS, with one – the Messages application – even booting up faster under iOS 7.1 than it did under iOS 6.1.3.

For the most part, though, iOS 7.1 can’t match the snappier iOS 6.1.3.

Source: Ars Technica.

Ars Technica adds that user interface jerkiness has been improved (but not eradicated) for the iPhone 4 in iOS 7.1. “None of this is to say that jerkiness is entirely banished from the iPhone 4 — all you have to do is open the Settings app and scroll around to see how true that is,” the article notes.

The bottom line, then, is that if you own an iPhone 4, don’t be afraid to update to iOS 7.1. In fact, the software update should come as a pleasant surprise.

Just be sure to avoid it if you’re running a jailbroken handset.

See also: Verbs Instant Messaging App Goes 3.0 With New iOS 7 Design And New Features, PopAGraph Updated With New Filters, New Fonts And New Animated GIF Export Option, and Check Which iOS 7.1 Features Are Available In Your Local Region Using This Chart.