When iOS 7 was dropped on us last year, not all iPhone models were supported. The oldest one to receive that support was the iPhone 4 and even then, not all iOS 7 features would work on it and many users found the handset to be slow and somewhat unresponsive.
Image: iPhone 4 running iOS 7.1 Update
iPhone 4 users could not take advantage of the new Siri features, AirDrop or AirPlay Mirroring. Some of the special effects in iOS 7 wouldn’t work wither, including transparency and parallax. Today, with the release of iOS 7.1, Apple has given the iPhone 4 a new lease of life although it still isn’t up to the standards it was on iOS 6.1.3.
A report from Ars Technica shows that performance and speed on the iPhone 4 improve quite significantly on a number of stock apps that are opened from the Home screen:
Image: Speed Differences on iPhone 4
As you can see from the chart above, there are differences across most of the major apps, although some are better than others are. In a couple of them, the speed is almost back to that of iOS 6.1.3 which is quite impressive given the huge differences between the 2 versions of the iOS firmware.
Although the results are not a complete recovery, given the age of the iPhone 4, it’s as good as it is going to get. Improvements in speed are noticeable across the whole of iOS 7.1 on the iPhone 4, making it far more responsive that it was.
Another noticeable improvement that iOS 7.1 brings is the reduction of jerkiness that was evident in iOS 7. This is more noticeable when launching apps or calling up the control center – actions that were a little jerky in iOS 7 but are noticeably smoother in 7.1.
This is likely to be the last big iOS release for the iPhone 4; when the next firmware is released, likely to be iOS 8, support for the iPhone 4 will not be given. However, iOS 7.1 gives the iPhone 4 enough of a decent experience to make it more bearable.
However, there are clear benefits to moving to a newer model of iPhone; all iOS 7/7.1 features are fully supported and the experience is much nicer and smoother.