Here’s where you want to be: at the search screen.
But here’s where you are: down in the P section of your contacts.
How to get from where you are to where you want to be? Well, some would tell you to touch that tiny little magnifying glass at the top right of the screen, just above the “A” in the A-Z list. Good luck doing that– you will probably hit the “+” instead, adding a new contact when you don’t want one.
The answer, it turns out, is to touch the time. That’s right, just touch the time (at the top center of the screen). Do that and you’re instantly brought to the top of your address list. Bonus: it shows you your phone number too. The magnifying glass doesn’t do that. And sometimes you need a little help remembering your own phone number. Depends on how much sleep you got.
Here’s what it looks like.
Touch where it says “Search” and you’re on your way to filtering down the list to whatever it is you type.
Note: the search is dynamic: the more you type, the fewer names show up, and it happens letter by letter. You don’t hit “Return” or “Enter” or anything like that– different from searching in Google, for example.
Note #2: The search looks at first name, last name, and company. It does not search notes and it does not search email addresses. That’s the way it goes.
Note #3 (added after someone pointed this out to me): you won’t see your phone number above the search box if you start in the Contacts app. I never use that app, choosing instead to click the Contacts button at the bottom center of the Phone app. If you do it that way (starting in the Phone app, and then touch contacts at the bottom center– as shown in the picture above), you do get to see your own phone number.
You’re probably wondering what makes this the iPhone Tip of the Year. It’s nice and all, but Tip of the Year? YES— because this “touch the time” thing works in EVERY program that scrolls vertically. Safari is one (touch the time and you’re right back at the top of the page, with the Google search box at the right as a bonus). Mail is another (touch the time and you’re at the top of the page, with a search box for searching your mail!). The iPod app works that way too (and also gives you a search box). So does iTunes. I am sure there are others, as this feature is part of the iPhone’s operating system, a built-in function just waiting for iPhone apps to call it.
If you find another app where the touch-the-time method works, let me know and I’ll post it here.