If you are using USPS’s tracking system to keep yourself informed about where your packages are and how they’re progressing, you might be wondering how often this company updates its tracking information and how accurate the updates are.
In general, USPS updates its tracking whenever a package is scanned, which is at any major part of its journey. Packages are scanned when they are accepted, when entering and leaving distribution centers, and when they are sent out for delivery. The tracking should be updated at these times.
Understanding how tracking systems work is useful if you send or receive a lot of mail, so let’s learn a bit more about tracking.
Does USPS Always Update Tracking?
USPS updates tracking information whenever a postal employee scans a package.
This will usually be done at key points in the journey, such as when the package enters or leaves a sorting facility, when it is sent out for delivery, and when it is entered into the system initially.
At each of these stages, a post office employee will log the parcel’s position by scanning the bar code, and the system will update to reflect the package’s new location.
How About Weekends?
The postal service does operate on weekends, but only certain packages will be delivered on Sundays.
Mail may still be handled on a Saturday, but tracking information will not usually be updated on a Sunday, unless your package has been sent using Priority Mail Express.
If your package is traveling using another service, the tracking will not usually update on a Sunday because the item won’t be traveling on a Sunday.
It will resume its journey and receive any updates on the following Monday.
How Long Does USPS Take To Update Tracking Info?
Sometimes, tracking information is updated immediately when a package is scanned, but USPS requests that customers allow up to 24 hours for this to happen.
It can take time for the system to catch up and register the changes.
This problem could be worse around the holidays, as the system will have more information on it, and more people are likely to be checking, too.
This can result in a slower system overall.
Does USPS Tracking Update In Real Time?
No, USPS does not track packages in real time.
You cannot find out if your mail is on the road, on a plane, or traveling by ship, or check whether it has moved from one side of the sorting facility to the other.
Instead, you will be given updates at standardized points in the mail’s journey, whenever it reaches a new place or leaves that place.
There is no way of checking the real time position of your mail; it is dependent on scans by employees.
Why Is USPS Tracking Not Updating?
Usually, if the tracking does not seem to be updating properly, there is an issue that USPS is dealing with.
This is often related to adverse weather conditions, which makes it more difficult for the company to transport mail, and could cause delays.
If the vehicles can’t transport the packages, the tracking won’t get updated until the situation is resolved.
Sometimes, tracking will not update simply because a package hasn’t been scanned properly.
The package may still be moving as expected, but the tracking won’t reflect this because nobody has scanned the bar code – so the update won’t go through.
This should be resolved at the next scan point, so when the mail reaches or leaves another sorting facility.
These hiccups happen fairly frequently and are nothing to be concerned about.
Should I Be Worried If USPS Tracking Hasn’t Updated In 3 Days?
You don’t need to be particularly concerned if the tracking information hasn’t updated after 3 days have passed.
Often, this is just a sign that the package has not been scanned correctly, rather than that anything significant has gone wrong.
However, sometimes, a lack of updates could mean that the package has been misplaced, or that it got misdirected and is being sent back on itself.
Sometimes, it just means that the sorting facility is facing a major backlog (this often happens during the holidays) and has not yet had time to deal with your package.
Most of these issues will resolve themselves, and the package will be moving again before long. You should hopefully see an update a few days later.
What To Do If USPS Does Not Update Tracking?
If your tracking information still hasn’t updated, and you are getting concerned, the best thing to do is contact USPS’s customer service team.
They should be able to use the tracking number to locate the package and get in touch with the sorting facility.
This will sometimes be sufficient to trigger a scan and get the package moving again. If weather issues or strikes are causing the delay, you can at least get an update.
They may be able to give you an estimate of when the situation will be resolved, and this will let you know when to start checking back in with the tracking information.
In theory, your USPS tracking information will get updated every time the package enters and leaves a sorting facility, but this doesn’t always work.
Many things can cause delays or misinformation on the tracking system, including missed scans, poor weather, and lost mail. Usually, your package will still reach you, but reach out to USPS if you are concerned.
Martha had a chance to work for such major companies as USPS and FedEx, where she gained a lot of experience and learned quite a few nuances when it comes to handling mail and packages. Now she is a freelance writer who specializes in the logistics industry.