Does USPS Update Tracking? [Real Time Updating, Not Updating, After Delivery + More]

Tracking your packages has become an essential part of the online shopping experience, allowing you to follow the progress of your package from the moment it’s shipped until it reaches your doorstep.

With the United States Postal Service being a major player in the delivery of mail and packages, it’s important to know if their tracking system is reliable.

So, does USPS update tracking? Is it a service you can trust? Let’s take a closer look and find out!

USPS, Image Credit: USPS

Does USPS Update Tracking In 2023?

Have you ever wondered how USPS tracking works? It’s a service that provides updates on the delivery status of your package, giving you peace of mind as you wait for your item to arrive. The good news is that USPS does update their tracking information regularly, usually several times a day, so you can rely on it to provide accurate information.

It’s important to note that real-time tracking isn’t available, but the updates are frequent enough to provide a good indication of where your package is and when it will arrive. If you want to know more about USPS tracking, what the different tracking updates mean, and what to do if your tracking info isn’t updating, keep reading for more information!

How Does USPS Tracking Work?

When you send an item with USPS or one of its partners, a barcode is added to the shipping label if the item is big enough or shipped with an applicable service. This barcode is linked to a tracking number that updates with each scan during the journey from the source to the destination. It’s fascinating to watch as you can see the item move across the country.

Usually, the sender shares the tracking number with the recipient, so they can also track the package and stay informed about its whereabouts. The tracking number is useful for knowing when to expect delivery and avoid late-stage mishaps.

USPS provides an “Expected Delivery Date” on their tracking page, which updates as the item moves. While real-time tracking is not available, USPS updates tracking information several times a day, and the information is accurate and reliable. To learn more about USPS tracking, read on for information on real-time tracking, updates, and more!

Does USPS Update Tracking In Real-Time?

Although USPS cannot provide real-time tracking updates due to the sheer number of packages they handle, they do update tracking information several times a day. So, if there has been any activity since the last update, you can expect to see the latest scans included with the most recent update.

While it may not be as instantaneous as we would like it to be, I have found that updates usually happen within a short window of time. Sometimes the update happens within half an hour, while other times it may take 6-12 hours to see any updates. Regardless, you can count on USPS to provide you with accurate and timely tracking information.

USPS, Image Credit: USPS

What Do USPS Tracking Updates Mean?

USPS tracking updates can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the terminology used. Here are some common updates and what they mean:

“USPS has created a shipping label, awaiting item”: this means that the label has been printed, but the item hasn’t been shipped yet.
“Departed Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Items”: this indicates that the package has been picked up by a shipping partner and is on its way to a USPS facility.
“In Transit”: this means that the package is on the move and is likely switching facilities along the way.
“Out For Delivery”: this is an exciting update that means the package is on the delivery truck and will be delivered that day.
“Delivered”: this update means that the package has reached its destination. It will likely be in the mailbox, but if it doesn’t fit, it could be in a variety of locations.

Understanding these updates can help you keep track of your package and know when to expect it.

If you’re waiting for a package to arrive and tracking its progress, you may come across some phrases that are unfamiliar or confusing. Let’s go over a few of the most common ones.

If you have a porch, check there first – sometimes packages are left there to protect them from porch pirates.

If you see “No Access” on your tracking, it means the postal worker couldn’t reach your address for some reason. Maybe there was a gate or a dog in the way.

If you see “Notice Left,” it usually means the package required a signature, but there was no one home to receive it. You’ll need to go to your local post office to pick it up, and don’t forget to bring the notice slip with you!

If you want to see a complete list of tracking updates and what they mean, you can visit the USPS website for more details.

Can You Receive Text Tracking Updates From USPS?

You can stay up-to-date on your package’s whereabouts with the free tracking updates feature offered by USPS. To enroll in this service, simply go to your item’s tracking page and click on “Text & Email Updates.” You can select which types of updates you want to receive, such as “Package In-Transit Updates” or “Expected Delivery Updates,” and choose whether you prefer to receive them via text or email.

To use this feature, you’ll need to have a USPS account and have a valid phone number and email address on file. Once you’re signed up, you’ll receive updates as USPS updates their system, which can help alleviate the stress of constantly checking for updates.

Should You Be Worried If USPS Tracking Is Not Updating?

It’s common to feel anxious if your USPS tracking hasn’t been updated in a while, but don’t worry too much. It’s usually not a sign of something bad happening with your package.

One possible reason is that the package may have missed a scan during its journey. It’s also possible that the package is on a long leg of its journey and hasn’t reached a scanning location yet.

For instance, if you’re in New York and your package is coming from California, it’s reasonable to expect a delay in tracking updates for a few days.

Does USPS Update Tracking After Delivery?

Have you ever checked on a package that you already received and saw new tracking information? It can be surprising, but don’t worry – it’s most likely a case of recycled tracking numbers.

Sometimes USPS can become inundated with packages and might reuse old tracking numbers while transporting new items. This is rare, but it can happen.

If you notice that your old tracking information shows that the item has been marked as “delivered” but not to your location and has been “archived,” this is likely the case.

Why Is Your USPS Package Stuck In Transit?

It can be quite frustrating to check your package’s tracking status multiple

times over a few days and still see that it’s stuck in transit. However, don’t worry too much as it doesn’t necessarily mean that your package is lost.

One possible reason for the delay is that the package might have missed a scan during the journey, and you will receive an update once the next scan happens. Alternatively, there could be an unexpected delay, but it hasn’t been recorded in the system yet, and USPS will update the expected delivery date accordingly.

In case your package is delayed, and you have ordered an item from Amazon, shipped with Prime 1-day or 2-day, then you could be compensated for that from Amazon!

USPS, Image Credit: USPS

Unfortunately, there’s also a possibility that your package is lost. In such a case, you can refer to USPS’s chart for delivery standards and reach out to customer service for assistance.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our related guide on whether USPS sends text messages, if USPS ships to Canada, and if USPS delivers to your door.

Also Read: Does USPS Ship To Canada?


Overall, I believe that USPS does a pretty good job of keeping customers updated on the status of their packages.

Considering the sheer volume of packages that USPS handles every day, it’s not surprising that real-time tracking isn’t always feasible. However, I’ve found that USPS updates tracking information several times a day and is usually very accurate.

Of course, mistakes do happen from time to time, but they are rare. In general, USPS does an admirable job of keeping packages moving along smoothly and making sure customers are aware of any delays or issues.