USPS Tracking Informed Delivery

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March 9, 2024

Imagine you want to give a family member or a partner a gift. So, you ordered an item you believe they’ll love. But what if you intend to keep your present a secret until the right moment?

Sure, you can intercept all incoming mail. However, this strategy can be quite a hassle if your household receives many packages frequently. If only you could see what items your carrier will deliver beforehand, right? That way, you only have to wait for one mailpiece.

Fortunately, the United States Postal Service offers what you need precisely- Informed Delivery. This free service lets you track your mail item’s journey down the delivery pipeline and see a preview of it. You can even give special instructions to the carrier to make the delivery more exciting.

This article will guide you through all the essential details you need to know about the U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Delivery feature, from how to get it to the meaning behind specific tracking updates.

For additional information on Informed Delivery and other excellent USPS mail services, visit your local post office. Find Postal Service facilities in your area by using FindPostOffice.org’s locator tool.

What Is Informed Delivery®?

With its centuries-long history of providing reliable mail delivery services, the United States Postal Service (USPS), also known as the U.S. Mail service, understands the importance of staying informed about your packages.

Fortunately, there’s Informed Delivery. This free USPS feature lets you digitally preview, track, and manage incoming packages from your phone or computer. All you need to do to receive these benefits and streamline your postal experience is to sign up on the USPS website at USPS.com.

Informed Delivery® and USPS Tracking®

One of the most significant upsides to choosing USPS as your primary package carrier is the ability to monitor packages from drop off to delivery with USPS Tracking.

Aside from allowing you to monitor incoming mail, USPS Tracking has another advantage. It lets you integrate seamlessly with Informed Delivery, enabling you to view and receive notifications on the delivery status of mail items that come with USPS Tracking, including Certified and Registered Mail.

Note that some USPS packages, such as First Class Mail letters, don’t automatically include USPS Tracking. However, you can purchase USPS tracking numbers and barcodes for these parcels and manually add them to your monitoring list on the Informed Delivery dashboard.

History of the United States Postal Service Informed Delivery

In 2014, Jerry Seinfeld, stand-up comedian and the star of the TV sitcom Seinfeld, joked about wanting the U.S. Postal Service to open his mail and tell him the contents.

Seemingly, in response to Seinfeld’s comments, the USPS launched its Informed Delivery service. While postal workers won’t read your letters and open your packages, USPS will take pictures of every piece of mail you’ll receive.

At first, this convenient feature launched only to select ZIP codes. While Informed Delivery is yet to be available for all Americans, it has since grown to accommodate over 52 million users. That number will only continue to rise.

Where Is Informed Delivery Currently Offered?

As of September 2023, USPS’ Informed Delivery is only available to P.O. boxes and residential and business addresses in eligible ZIP code locations.

Fortunately, most ZIP codes are qualified for Informed Delivery. That said, your address must have a uniquely-coded mailbox to sign up for the service. 

A coded mailbox refers to a mailbox with a USPS-assigned code that helps the Postal Service determine which images to send to each user and ensures that only address-specific mail can be viewed by users.

Visit InformedDelivery.USPS.com to determine if you qualify to reap the benefits of Informed Delivery. Alternatively, you can contact a Postal Service representative. 

Find your area’s nearest post office locations with FindPostOffice.org’s USPS facility finder tool.

How Does Informed Delivery Work? What Will I See?

In a nutshell, Informed Delivery works like this:

  • Automated equipment will scan, sort, and take pictures of your package’s front side or address side when it reaches a USPS facility.
  • USPS will then email the digitized grayscale images to your USPS.com account, which you can access on your Informed Delivery dashboard.

Although straightforward at first glance, the Informed Delivery service has various intricacies that set it apart from other USPS services. 

For instance, participating mailers can provide colored images, allowing you to see the contents of your incoming mail in more detail.

Why Should I Use Informed Delivery?

While Informed Delivery can assist you with surprise gifts, it offers various other benefits that make it an excellent partner for your mailing needs.

Here are some of the benefits of Informed Delivery that can help simplify your life:

  • Tracking Notifications: The USPS Informed Delivery service lets you turn on notifications for your mailpieces, alerting you with text and email reminders about your parcels’ status and delivery information.
  • USPS Tracking: As mentioned, Informed Delivery and USPS Tracking work hand in hand. You can manually include packages, such as Click-N-Ship parcels, that you want to monitor and remove others from your tracking list.

Click-N-Ship is a USPS service that allows you to create your own pre-paid Priority Mail shipping labels. Labels include delivery confirmation numbers that track the date and delivery time or attempted delivery.

  • USPS Delivery Instructions: From your Informed Delivery dashboard, you can leave specific demands for the USPS driver. These instructions can be to send your package to a different address, such as at a neighbor’s, or hold mail at a post office.
  • Redelivery: Not only can you specify how USPS handles incoming shipments, but you can also schedule redelivery for packages you can’t receive in person.
  • Electronic Signature: Speaking of being unable to receive mail at the delivery address, you can register your digital signature with Informed Delivery. That way, you can sign off on mailpieces requiring signature confirmation even if you’re not present to accept them.
  • Assign Packages: If you receive a considerable package volume frequently, tracking which parcel is which can be difficult. Fortunately, Informed Delivery allows you to add unique identifiers or nicknames to incoming shipments.

How Does USPS Benefit from Informed Delivery?

With all the benefits of Informed Delivery, you may think this service must be expensive. Although not everyone is eligible for Informed Delivery (at least not yet), it’s free if you qualify.

With that in mind, why does the U.S. Postal Service offer it? How does it benefit from Informed Delivery? 

Here are some ways USPS gains from Informed Delivery users:

  • Increased customer satisfaction: The primary goal of USPS is to provide reliable mail delivery services to all Americans. By empowering you to preview what’s on the way to your mailbox anytime and anywhere, the Postal Service is achieving its objective.
  • Better business engagement: Informed Delivery allows USPS to connect businesses and their direct mail items to customers, further expanding USPS’ network. With this greater reach, USPS can provide frequent, safer, and more economical services.
  • Improved efficiency: By enabling you and other Informed Delivery users to provide delivery instructions and schedules, the U.S. Postal Service can further streamline its process. This newfound effectiveness helps reduce delayed and lost packages.

Is There a USPS Informed Delivery App?

Although Informed Delivery no longer has a standalone mobile app, you can access the Informed Delivery dashboard from your mobile device through the USPS app. This mobile application is available on the Google Play and Apple App Store.

Signing Up

Are you intrigued by the U.S. Postal Service’s unique offering and ready to preview, manage, and track packages in one convenient location? Then, it’s time to create your Informed Delivery account.

How Do I Sign Up for Informed Delivery?  

Fortunately, signing up for the Informed Delivery service is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Visit the Informed Delivery page at InformedDelivery.USPS.com and click the “Sign up for Free” button.
  • Provide your address details to determine your eligibility for the service.
  • Create an Informed Delivery account using your USPS.com account, or sign up using a unique username, password, and security questions.
  • Verify your identity by supplying your contact information and entering the one-time numeric passcode.
  • Wait for your account’s activation.

If you can’t complete the mobile identity verification process, USPS offers in-person identity proofing services as an alternative at 18,000 locations across the country. 

You can quickly find nearby post offices that provide this service by visiting FindPostOffice.org.

Daily Notifications

Once you’ve signed up for the Informed Delivery service, you’ll receive daily notifications about your mail and package deliveries, including mailpiece images and delivery status details.

How Are My Informed Delivery Notifications Delivered?

USPS delivers these notifications through the Daily Digest email, the Informed Delivery dashboard, and the USPS mobile app. 

Will I Still Receive Daily Email Notifications if I Have My Mail on Hold?

You’ll still receive Informed Delivery notifications even if USPS holds your mailpieces.

Why Can’t I Use the Informed Delivery® Mobile Application?

Previously, you could access the Informed Delivery dashboard from the Informed Delivery mobile app. However, the U.S. Postal Service shut it down. 

If you’re using the standalone Informed Delivery app, it won’t work. Instead, you must use the USPS app.

How Soon After Requesting Informed Delivery Will I Begin Receiving Notifications?

The activation time for Informed Delivery accounts can vary, ranging between three and seven business days. But once the activation process is complete, you’ll begin receiving notifications.

I Signed Up but Have Not Received Notifications for Packages or Mail Images. What Could Be Happening?

You should receive notifications if your address is eligible for Informed Delivery and your account is activated. If not, you can do any of the following:

  • Check your email’s junk or spam folder and settings.
  • Turn on your Informed Delivery account’s notifications. 
  • Verify that you provided the correct mobile phone number in your account’s settings.

If none of these methods work, contact the USPS customer service hotline at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). 

Alternatively, you can talk to a Postal Service representative at your local post office. You can visit FindPostOffice.org to locate your area’s nearest USPS facilities.

Can I Update My Preferences to Not Receive Email or Text Notifications and Instead View My Mail and Package Information on the Online Dashboard?

The Postal Service lets you turn on notifications for essential packages. Conversely, it enables you to turn on these alerts. 

You can also stop updates for all parcels or specific mailpieces through your Informed Delivery account’s settings.

I Am Receiving Informed Delivery Emails, but I Can’t Log Into My Dashboard. What Could Be Happening?

If you’re in a situation wherein you’re receiving Informed Delivery notifications but can’t access the dashboard, it’s possible you signed up for the service during an official change of address (COA) or with the assistance of a USPS employee who used a mobile enrollment app.

During the initial sign-up process, you must complete the registration by providing a username and password. Otherwise, you won’t receive the one-time link to activate your account.

If the reason for your inability to access the Informed Delivery Dashboard is an expired link or a lost email, you can create a new account. Fortunately, signing up for the Informed Delivery service is free.

When Are Informed Delivery Emails Sent?

USPS will send Informed Delivery notifications from Monday through Saturday, usually before 9 AM local time. However, you won’t receive email and text alerts on Sundays, federal holidays, or days you don’t have incoming mail.

Why May Some of the Mail I Receive Not Show Up in My Informed Delivery Notification?

As the Informed Delivery service relies on automated imaging and sorting, you won’t receive notifications for mail items that didn’t go through this process, such as magazines and catalogs. Otherwise, this problem may result from internal issues, such as maintenance.

Why Am I Receiving Notifications for My Housemate’s or Roommate’s Mail or Packages?

Unfortunately, the U.S. Postal Service has no method of separating previews and notifications for other people’s mail shipped to your household. As cited, USPS determines where to send these alerts by coding mailboxes, not the user.

Can I Get Informed Delivery Notifications Sent to More Than One of My Email Addresses?

Unfortunately, you can only receive Informed Delivery notifications on the email address you used to create your USPS.com account, which you cannot reuse to create a new account.

Viewing Package Details

One of the most exciting aspects of Informed Delivery is the ability to view package details. Let’s explore how this feature works.

Will I See Images of My Packages Like I Do for My Letter-Sized Mail?

The Informed Delivery service is designed specifically for providing previews for letter-sized mail. In other words, USPS may not photograph packages. However, your large mailpiece may have photos if the participating mailer provides the images on USPS’ behalf.

How Do I View Package Tracking Details?

You can view your mail items’ tracking information by going to the Informed Delivery dashboard and clicking the “Packages” button. Doing so will allow you to view a list of inbound and outbound parcels. Click the blue arrow next to the package entry to view individual mail details.

On Days When Both Mail and Packages Are Scheduled to Arrive, Users Will See the Following Delivery Status Information at the Bottom of Their Informed Delivery Email and on Their Dashboard:

If a mailpiece is scheduled to be shipped to your address, you’ll receive an email notification, and your Informed Delivery dashboard will show the package’s USPS Tracking number, the mailer’s name, and the estimated delivery date.

What Do the Different Colors on the Dashboard Mean?

USPS sorts packages into four categories. These categories are identified by different colors and indicate the following:

  • Green: Mailpieces that appear green on your Informed Delivery dashboard are those that USPS has successfully delivered.
  • Blue: If a parcel is traveling through the USPS mailing network, it will appear blue.
  • Gray: The package will appear gray on your dashboard when the Postal Service can’t accurately provide a delivery date.
  • Red: Packages that require action, such as redelivery, will appear in red text.

A Package I’m Expecting Has Not Appeared on My Email or Dashboard. What Could Have Happened?

Sometimes, you may notice that an incoming package isn’t visible in your mail or the Informed Delivery dashboard. This issue typically occurs if the item’s delivery address doesn’t match the address associated with your account.

Other times, a mailpiece won’t appear on your Informed Delivery account if there are system delays. Fortunately, you can manually add a shipment if it has a USPS Tracking number.

If an incoming mail item has no tracking number, you must contact the U.S. Postal Service through its customer service hotline or by visiting a post office. 

You can find your area’s most convenient USPS facilities using FindPostOffice.org’s locator tool.

What Packages Can I Track?

Informed Delivery automatically includes tracking for most domestic USPS packages heading to the address linked to your USPS.com account, including those shipped through mailing services like Priority Mail Express.

You can monitor up to 20 mailpieces daily if you’re the one shipping. However, you must manually add them to your Informed Delivery tracking list using their USPS Tracking numbers. Note that USPS won’t automatically include them.

Can You Track USPS Certified Mail?

Like most domestic USPS packages, you can monitor Certified Mail through your Informed Delivery account via email, text, or the dashboard. Certified Mail is also eligible for USPS Delivery Instructions, notification management, and redelivery.

Does Informed Delivery Show All Mail?

The Informed Delivery dashboard will only display preview images for seven days and package information for 15 days after you receive the mailpiece. While there’s no limit to the number of inbound mail you can track, you won’t see all simultaneously.

However, if you opted for email and text notifications and saved all those alerts, you’ll have details on mail items shipped to your Informed Delivery-associated address, which you can use for bookkeeping purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What does my tracking number look like?

Depending on your parcel’s USPS mail class, the tracking number may look like the following:

USPS Tracking9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
Certified Mail9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Global Express Guaranteed82 000 000 00
Priority Mail Express InternationalEC 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail Express9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
EA 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail International
CP 000 000 000 US
Registered Mail9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00
Signature Confirmation9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
  1. Where do I find my tracking number?

You can quickly locate your package’s USPS Tracking number in the following locations:

  1. How can I leave delivery instructions?

Select the package from your incoming mail list on your Informed Delivery dashboard to leave delivery instructions for a mailpiece. You’ll then see an option to specify unique instructions for your carrier.

  1. Can I track Informed Delivery?

The USPS Informed Delivery service isn’t a package delivery service in and of itself. Instead, it’s a hub that lets you see incoming parcels beforehand and track and manage mail items.

  1. How do I see my mail on Informed Delivery?

You can see inbound and outbound mail from your Informed Delivery dashboard, which you can access by visiting InformedDelivery.USPS.com or via the USPS mobile app.

  1. How do you get notifications for your mail?

To receive notifications for your mail items, head to your Informed Delivery account’s settings and check the “Turn on my Informed Delivery email notifications” option.

  1. How long does it take for Informed Delivery to update?

When USPS’ automated equipment scans your mail, it will update that parcel’s status and information. Barring system delays, these changes will be reflected in the system within a few hours. However, you’ll only receive Informed Delivery notifications once daily.

  1. Does USPS notify when mail is delivered?

Informed Delivery will display package details on the dashboard, and you’ll receive email and text alerts if you opt to receive updates using these avenues. However, parcel information will only remain for up to 15 days.

  1. How do you get Informed Delivery?

You can get Informed Delivery and benefit from the service’s offerings by creating a USPS.com account and verifying your address eligibility. Alternatively, you can request assistance from a Postal Service representative at a post office. You can narrow the list of over 31,000 USPS facilities to the most convenient ones in your area by visiting FindPostOffice.org and using the post office locator tool.

References

  1. Informed Delivery by USPS
    https://www.usps.com/manage/informed-delivery.htm
  2. Postal history
    https://about.usps.com/who/profile/history/
  3. Informed Delivery® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Informed-Delivery-The-Basics
  4. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-The-Basics
  5. Informed Delivery® Dashboard
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Informed-Delivery-Dashboard
  6. Informed Delivery by USPS [Ultimate Guide]
    https://www.postscanmail.com/blog/informed-delivery
  7. Postal Service offering high-tech way to preview your mail
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/usps-mail-preview-service
  8. INNOVATION IN THE MAIL
    https://facts.usps.com/innovation/
  9. USPS Delivery Instructions™ – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Delivery-Instructions-The-Basics
  10. About the United States Postal Service
    https://about.usps.com/who/profile/
  11. USPS Shutting Down Informed Delivery Android App This Summer
    https://www.droid-life.com/2021/04/08/usps-shutting-down
  12. USPS® In-Person Identity Proofing
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-In-Person-Identity-Proofing
  13. USPS Tracking®
    https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
  14. How to Sign Up for Informed Delivery®
    https://www.usps.com/c360/images/10.3.19_ID-Sign-Up_Guide.pdf