The USPS has come a long way from just delivering mail.
In an effort to broaden their services and earn more funding, they’ve started taking on package deliveries as well.
The USPS often partners with other carriers like UPS, FedEx, and Amazon to handle last-mile deliveries.
When the USPS takes possession of your package, then you may wonder how long it will take before it arrives at your home.
Here’s how often the USPS updates its tracking information.
How Often Does USPS Update Tracking?
The USPS updates its tracking within 24 to 48 hours.
In theory, it updates each time a package arrives at a facility.
The postal worker should also scan the package from time to time to update its tracking.
However, circumstances can occur that make scanning often impossible.
For example, postal workers often find themselves with tight schedules and a lot of deliveries.
In this instance, the postal worker may not be able to scan as much as they should.
It can also take some time for the tracking information to actually update in their system.
Because of that, you should give the USPS a day or two to update the tracking information before you call them to find out its status.
Why Is The USPS Tracking Information Delayed?
Because the USPS is an expert organization at handling deliveries, you may wonder why it can take so long for their tracking information to update.
You may also wonder why they face delays.
There are a few reasons your tracking information may face a delay when updating.
Here are some of those reasons.
1. Torn Barcode
One of the reasons the USPS worker might not be able to update the tracking is that the barcode isn’t clear.
It may have torn during transport.
It may have gotten wet at one point which blurred the barcode.
Any number of things can happen to a label.
When that happens, the postal worker is unable to scan it.
The code is unreadable by the scanner.
Since the scanner can’t read the barcode, there’s no way to update the tracking.
When this happens, there’s a chance your package may go to someone else.
The barcode relays information that the worker needs.
If the barcode has been damaged, then there’s also a chance that the rest of the label is damaged, too.
It may be impossible to tell who the package goes to or what address to deliver to.
If the label is still intact, then it will likely arrive at your door.
However, without the worker’s ability to scan the package, you won’t know when it’s arriving.
To ensure you don’t miss it, it’s a good idea to check around your house at the time the USPS worker usually arrives in your neighborhood.
Tracking updates can face delays when the barcode is damaged.
2. Shift Changes
While USPS workers operate long hours, they also work in shifts.
There’s a chance that your package arrived during a shift change.
If that’s the case, then there’s also a chance that the new shift won’t touch your package until the next day.
For example, if a delivery worker is making their rounds, they may still have a few deliveries left by the time their shift ends.
They return to the postal office but the package remains on the secured truck for the next day.
Since nothing is happening to the package, it will remain where it is, so there’s nothing to update in terms of its tracking.
When you look at your tracking information, the last update you receive may be that it’s out for delivery.
There’s a chance that this is true, but it really means it will be delivered the next day.
When the next day arrives, the worker resumes their deliveries and brings your package to you.
Shift changes can also impact the sorting process.
If your package is one of the last to go through the sorting process by the time the shift is over, then there’s a chance that its tracking may not receive an update until the next day.
When the next day arrives, the postal worker will finally scan the package as they put it on their truck for delivery.
Tracking information can face delays when there are shift changes.
3. Inclement Weather
The weather can also cause a delay in tracking updates.
If your package is coming from a distant location, then it’s subject to all sorts of different weather.
It may be raining heavily in one part of the country while it’s completely sunny where you live.
One area may be facing wildfires or tornados.
Another area may be dealing with a hurricane.
Any time you order something from a distant location, there’s a chance that the package has to make it through both mild and dangerous weather.
This can cause a delay because the driver may face delays on the road.
In the case of a wildfire, tornado, or hurricane, they may be unable to move forward until it clears.
If there’s any debris on the road, then that might cause further delays since they can’t move forward until it’s clear.
Your tracking information won’t be updated because the driver hasn’t progressed anywhere since the last update.
If you’re unsure why your tracking hasn’t been updated, then it’s worth doing a little research.
Find out where the seller operates and if they keep their warehouses in the same location.
If so, then you can check the local weather reports to determine if there are any serious weather problems in that area.
Since most transports tend to take the most direct paths, you can usually trace a general path that you think the driver might be taking.
Continue to check the weather along their route until you reach your location.
If there’s serious weather occurring along the route, then you know why your tracking hasn’t received an update.
If there isn’t serious weather occurring, then there may be another reason behind the delay.
Keep in mind that some long-distance travel is also handled by airplanes.
Planes require a very specific type of weather to take off, fly, and land.
If there’s fog, strong winds, icy airstrips, or other problems, that can also cause a delay since the plane may not be moving.
Tracking information may not be updated because of a weather delay.
4. Scanner Problems
There are a few ways that your tracking information receives an update.
One of the major places to receive an update is when your package arrives at a facility.
The other main way is when a worker scans the package.
There are a few times along the route when the worker will scan the package.
However, if the scanner isn’t working properly, then they’re not going to be able to update the tracking information.
Scanners are simplistic machines in that they read a barcode, then transmit that information to a computer.
Like all electronics, however, they’re prone to malfunctions.
It may be as simple as running out of power.
If it didn’t receive enough charging the prior night or its batteries are dead, then the worker can’t use it.
With scanners seeing a lot of use, there’s also a chance that the parts have simply worn out.
Since they’re out on the road, it would be a waste of time for the USPS worker to return to the post office just to get a new scanner.
Instead, they’ll proceed along the route and skip scanning the packages.
Unfortunately, this means that those expecting packages on that route won’t receive an update in their tracking information.
The final update may come a day later when the information says that the delivery is complete.
Tracking information may face a delay when a worker’s scanner no longer functions on the road.
5. Lost Package
Another reason you may not receive a tracking update is that someone lost your package.
There are a few reasons the USPS might lose your package.
The main one is the sheer number of packages that the organization handles every day.
USPS workers have to work fast to get out as many packages and pieces of mail as possible.
Because there’s a focus on speed, errors can happen.
Your package might end up in the wrong sorting bin and put on the wrong truck.
When the driver finds it, they might think there was a mistake somewhere and deliver it to the house that they think the package should go to.
They might also bring it back for sorting again which delays tracking further.
Sometimes the package made it onto the right truck, but if it’s small, it could have gotten lost amid all the other packages.
The driver might find it later down their route when their shift is over.
Some drivers will take the extra time to take it to the right house.
Others will bring it back for delivery the next day.
Because the USPS handles last-mile deliveries, they take packages from other carriers.
There’s also a chance that the previous carrier lost it and was unable to hand it off to the USPS.
In this case, you won’t receive an update for your tracking because it never reached the next facility.
It can be difficult to trace where the package might have gone since the carrier likely went to a few different facilities before reaching the current one.
Your package could be at any of those other facilities.
It’s expensive for carriers to track down a missing package, so they usually prefer to offer you a refund instead.
Any time your package goes missing, you can expect a serious delay in the updates for your tracking information.
6. Road And Driver Conditions
The conditions of the road or delivery driver can also affect tracking updates.
For example, if there’s unexpected traffic congestion or road work, then it can affect the driver’s ability to deliver packages.
They may run out of time during their shift before they can deliver everything.
In this case, your package won’t receive an update in its tracking because it’s still at the same stage as before.
Sometimes trucks malfunction or break down on the road.
This can cause a serious delay if the office doesn’t have any extra trucks to let the driver borrow.
They have to wait until the truck is repaired.
In the meanwhile, your package may go on a different truck.
However, that delivery worker is now trying to complete two shifts in one.
There’s a good chance that your package will face a delay and the tracking information won’t update because of it.
Finally, there’s a chance that your usual mail carrier is ill.
While most offices have a few people they can call in to handle extra routes, this isn’t always the case.
They may need to divvy the route up among the other drivers.
While there’s a chance you might receive your package according to what the tracking says, it’s slim.
The number of deliveries that the worker has to make can cause quite a delay.
Your tracking information may not receive an update because of the delays that can occur on the road.
7. Package Delivered
A final reason your tracking information may not update is that the package is at your home.
Since it can take 24 hours, and sometimes even 48 hours, for tracking information to update, there’s a chance that your package is already at your home.
If the initial tracking information you received gave you a date, then you should take a look around on that date to see if your package is anywhere.
Depending on its size, the USPS worker might sometimes put it in your mailbox.
Besides the length of time it can take for the tracking to update, there’s also a chance that the driver didn’t scan the package before bringing it to your door.
Torn barcodes or a busy schedule might have prevented them from scanning the package.
In this case, you may not receive an update until all the paperwork is complete at the end of the day.
Tracking information can sometimes not update for a while if the package has reached its destination.
Why Is My USPS Package Not Moving?
Because the USPS only updates its information every 24 to 48 hours, it can sometimes feel as though your package isn’t moving.
In some cases, it might not actually be moving.
Here are a few reasons your USPS package may not be seeming to move.
1. Holiday Season
One of the reasons it may seem like your tracking isn’t updating or moving is the holiday season.
This is an extremely busy time for the USPS because they handle a lot of last-mile deliveries.
Almost everyone is sending packages to their loved ones for the holidays.
They’re not always sending only one package either.
This means that the USPS has to process and deliver tons of packages in a limited time.
After all, everyone wants their package to arrive before December 25th no matter how late they ordered it in the month.
Besides packages, the USPS still has to deliver all its mail, too.
The holiday season is overwhelming for the USPS and other carriers.
Since there’s an influx of packages, it can take some time for everything to move.
You may feel as though your package isn’t moving because of the sheer number of packages that the USPS has to handle during the holiday season.
2. Infrequent Updates
There’s also the simple fact that the USPS doesn’t update its tracking all that much.
Packages receive an update when it reaches a new facility or when the delivery driver scans it.
If the delivery driver isn’t scanning the package, then your tracking information only ever receives an update when it reaches a new facility.
This means that there are large portions of time when it may seem like nothing is happening.
In reality, your package is on the move.
Infrequent updates caused by a lack of scanning can make it seem as though your package isn’t moving.
3. Lost Package
A final reason your tracking doesn’t seem to be changing is that the package isn’t there.
They lost the package.
This is one of the main concerns when someone notices that their package isn’t moving anywhere.
It’s also why you should give the USPS at least two or three days to update the tracking.
They might find your package by then and get it back on the road.
If it takes longer than five days to receive an update, however, then it’s worth contacting the carrier to determine what’s going on.
Your tracking may not be moving because the carrier lost the package.
It takes the USPS around 24 to 48 hours to update tracking information.
The infrequent updates are because they only update the tracking when the package arrives at a new facility or when the driver scans it.
A number of variables can occur which can delay the package and make it seem as though your tracking isn’t moving along the route.
After five days without a tracking update, it might be worth reaching out to the USPS to determine the situation.