I never tried this method, but I think this maybe not accurate enough, because the iphone is using the accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer to determine direction and tilt, the magnetometer is affected a lot by metal, which most of the scope OTA are made of. But maybe test it with the method you mentioned, glue an iphone holder to a cheap eyepiece, and see how it works. Let us know if this works.
Alternatively, just use the red dot finder and a finderscope, it works really well. I usually use the red dot finder to find a bright star, and then use the smartphone app SkySafari and finderscope to do star hopping in my light-polluted area, and it works really accurate, and I can find many faint objects that really hard to find this way.