Skip to content

USPS Tracking Not Updating? Here’s What to Do


Frustrated with a stalled USPS tracking number? You’re not alone. Tracking updates can be frustratingly slow, leaving us wondering if our package is lost in transit. But before you panic, there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot those pesky tracking issues and get your package moving again. This comprehensive guide will provide you with a step-by-step approach to resolving USPS tracking problems.

Table of Contents

Understanding USPS Tracking

USPS tracking utilizes a system of scans performed at different points throughout the delivery journey. Each scan updates the tracking information, providing you with a clearer picture of your package’s location. However, understanding that these updates can be delayed due to various factors is crucial.

Troubleshooting Steps

Now that you have a better understanding of how USPS tracking works, let’s move on to troubleshooting those frustrating tracking issues.

Step 1: Verify Tracking Number

First, ensure you have the correct tracking number. Misspelling or misreading a single digit can render the tracking number useless. Double-check the tracking number on the package label, your order confirmation, or the email notification you received.

Step 2: Check USPS Website and Mobile App

If the tracking number is correct, check the official USPS website or mobile app. These platforms are often the most reliable sources for tracking updates. Simply enter your tracking number into the search bar, and the website or app will display the latest status information.

Keep in mind that the USPS website and app can experience occasional outages or slow loading times.

Step 3: Allow for Processing Time

USPS packages take time to process and deliver. The processing time can vary depending on the package type, destination, and other factors.

Here are some estimated delivery times for different USPS services:

  • First-Class Mail: 1-3 business days within the United States.
  • Priority Mail: 1-2 business days within the United States.
  • Priority Mail Express: Overnight delivery within the United States.

Remember that these are estimates, and actual delivery times may vary. It’s always best to be patient and allow for a few extra days for your package to arrive.

Step 4: Contact USPS Customer Service

If you’ve verified the tracking number, checked the USPS website and app, and allowed for sufficient processing time, it’s time to contact USPS customer service. They can provide more specific information about your package’s location and status.

You can reach USPS customer service by phone, email, or through their online chat service. Be prepared to provide your tracking number, the date the package was shipped, and the sender and recipient information.

Step 5: Check for Local Delays

Local weather conditions, holidays, or other events can sometimes cause delays in USPS deliveries. It’s a good idea to check local news reports or the USPS website for any announcements regarding potential delays in your area.

Step 6: Consider the Package’s Destination

If your package is being shipped internationally, it may experience longer tracking delays than domestic packages. International shipments often face additional customs checks, which can significantly impact delivery times.

Step 7: Examine the Package’s Status

The USPS tracking status provides valuable information about your package’s journey. Pay attention to the different tracking updates and what they mean.

Here are some common tracking statuses and their explanations:

  • In Transit: The package is moving toward its destination but has not yet reached a specific location.
  • Out for Delivery: The package is being delivered to the recipient’s address.
  • Delivered: The package has been delivered to the recipient’s address.

Step 8: Re-scanning the Package

Sometimes, a package needs to be re-scanned to update its tracking information. This can happen if the initial scan was missed or if the package was moved to a different location. You can request a re-scan by contacting USPS customer service.

Step 9: Check for Missing Scans

If you suspect that USPS might have missed scanning your package, it’s important to report it. Missing scans can lead to inaccurate tracking information and make it harder to locate your package. Contact USPS customer service to report a missing scan.

Step 10: File a Missing Mail Search Request

If you’ve tried all of the above steps and still can’t locate your package, you may need to file a missing mail search request with USPS. This request will trigger a formal investigation to track down your package.

To file a missing mail search request, you can visit the USPS website or contact their customer service department. Be prepared to provide your tracking number, the date the package was shipped, and the sender and recipient information.

FAQ Section

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about USPS tracking:

Q: Why isn’t my USPS tracking number working?

A: There are several reasons why your USPS tracking number might not be working:

  • Incorrect tracking number: Double-check the number for any typos or errors.
  • Package hasn’t been scanned yet: Sometimes, packages are scanned at later stages of the delivery process. Allow for some time for the tracking information to update.
  • Technical issues: The USPS website or app might be experiencing temporary outages. Try checking again later.
  • Invalid tracking number: If you entered a tracking number from another carrier, it won’t work with USPS tracking.

Q: How long does it take for USPS tracking to update?

A: The time it takes for USPS tracking to update varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Package type: Express packages are scanned more frequently than regular mail.
  • Package location: Packages traveling long distances may have fewer scans.
  • USPS workload: During busy periods like holidays or peak shopping seasons, tracking updates can be slower.

Q: What does “In Transit” or “Out for Delivery” mean?


  • In Transit: This status means the package is moving toward its destination but hasn’t reached a specific location yet.
  • Out for Delivery: This status means the package is being delivered to the recipient’s address.

Q: What should I do if my package is delayed?

A: If your package is delayed, follow the troubleshooting steps outlined in this blog post:

  • Verify the tracking number.
  • Check the USPS website and app.
  • Allow for processing time.
  • Contact USPS customer service.
  • Check for local delays.
  • Consider the package’s destination.
  • Examine the package’s status.

Q: My package is marked as “Delivered,” but I didn’t receive it. What do I do?

A: If your package is marked as delivered but you haven’t received it, take these steps:

  • Check with your neighbors: Sometimes packages are delivered to the wrong address or left in a safe location.
  • Search your property thoroughly: Look for the package in different locations, including mailboxes, porches, and garages.
  • Contact USPS customer service: Report the missing package and provide them with your tracking number. They will investigate the issue and try to locate your package.

Q: How can I track a package sent internationally?

A: To track an international package, use the USPS website or app. Enter the tracking number, and the platform will display the package’s status.

Note that tracking information for international packages may be less frequent or less detailed than for domestic packages.


While dealing with USPS tracking issues can be frustrating, remember that most packages ultimately arrive safely at their destination. By following these troubleshooting steps and staying patient, you can increase your chances of resolving any tracking problems and ensuring your package gets to you as quickly as possible.

If you have any other questions or experiences with USPS tracking, share them in the comments below.