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Everything You Need to Know About USPS Package Tracking

April 17, 2023 | 4 min read

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is one of the largest postal services in the world, delivering approximately 23.8 million packages per day and processing 4,877 pieces of mail per second.

One of the niftiest features of the USPS is its tracking system, which you can access when you sign up for USPS Informed Delivery®.

Let’s take a look at USPS tracking, including what different tracking statuses mean, how to find a tracking number, and how tracking works with Informed Delivery®.

How USPS Tracking Works
  • When you send a package or priority mail through USPS, it’s assigned a unique tracking number.
  • At various points along the way, the USPS scans your package and updates the tracking information with the date and time of each scan.
  • Tracking information is uploaded, which you can access by entering the tracking number on the USPS website or mobile app.
  • You can receive notifications by email or text to keep you informed of delivery status, which includes, but are not limited to:

    • Origin Post is Preparing Shipment: Your package has been accepted by USPS and is waiting to be picked up for delivery.
    • In Transit: Your item is being shipped from one post office to another.
    • Arrived at Post Office: Your package has arrived at the local post office and is being processed for delivery.
    • Delivered: Your item has successfully arrived at its destination.

The USPS tracking system may assign other types of status depending on the parcel’s journey among shipping partners.
Locating Your Tracking Number

When you send a package or mail an item through USPS, the tracking number is often printed on the shipping label or receipt.

You can also find your tracking number by signing into the USPS website or mobile app and looking up your order history.

If you’re the recipient of a mail item or package, ask for the tracking number from the sender so that you can track your expected items.

Mail and Package Tracking with Informed Delivery®

USPS Informed Delivery® is a free service that allows customers to track mail and packages from the USPS directly in their USPS.com account.

With this service, customers can:

  • Receive notifications about incoming items, including the expected delivery date and item images.
  • Securely access these items online anytime through the USPS website or mobile app.
The Accuracy of USPS Tracking
How dependable USPS tracking depends on many factors, including:
  • The quality of the barcode on the package.
  • Speed and efficiency of the USPS scanning equipment.
  • Accuracy of the data entered into the tracking system by USPS employees.

The USPS has a fairly good record for tracking packages, and most customers are satisfied with the accuracy and reliability of the service.

However, like any carrier, there can be occasional hiccups with lost or delayed packages, so monitoring your tracking information carefully is essential.

Common Challenges with USPS Tracking
There are a few potential reasons why your USPS tracking isn’t exactly to plan:
  • Problem with the barcode or shipping label.

    • If the barcode on the package is damaged or unreadable, the USPS tracking system may not be able to scan it and update the tracking information.
    • The package may be delayed or returned to the sender if the shipping label is incomplete, incorrect, or missing.
  • The package hasn’t been scanned yet.

    • The USPS system relies on scanning the parcel at various points on its journey, and if the package has yet to be scanned, the tracking information may not be updated.
    • This can occur if the postal carrier hasn’t picked up the package or it’s still in transit and hasn’t been scanned at its next destination.
  • Technical issues with the USPS tracking system.

    • Like any computer system, the USPS tracking system can experience technical problems preventing tracking information from being updated in real-time.
    • Various factors, such as network connectivity issues, system maintenance, or system overload are usually the culprits.
  • Delays in transit.

    • Occasionally, packages experience delays due to weather, traffic, or other unforeseen circumstances.
    • If your package is delayed due to these factors, the USPS tracking number may not be updated until it reaches its next destination.
If you’re tracking a package and not seeing frequent updates, it’s best to contact USPS customer service asap for assistance.
A Virtual Mailbox Is Worth Considering
Managing your postal mail and packages from your phone, no matter where you are, is peak practicality and convenience. To take better and safer control of your mail and tracking game, consider adding a virtual mailbox to your toolkit.
  • Have your postal mail scanned and uploaded into a secure digital format.
  • Receive notifications when mail or packages are delivered.
  • Schedule mail or package pickup at a time that’s convenient for you.
  • Forward your mail or packages wherever you need them to go.
  • Request via app to shred or recycle mail.

No matter where you are in the world, Anytime Mailbox provides you with secure online access to all your postal mail so that you can manage it remotely.

A virtual mailbox, combined with the services offered through USPS and other vendors, will ensure your shipping and receiving are fully buttoned up and stress-free.