USPS Tracking Unavailable – Meaning, Causes, & Solution

The USPS has been praised over the years for the quality of its services. It is no surprise, as everyone who has used their service can attest to the quality.

20 years ago, tracking a USPS package was almost impossible. In fact, there was no reliable way to keep tabs on your package; you simply had to await its delivery.

Luckily, over the years, this option was made available. But like many other logistics service companies, it is not perfect. USPS tracking is not made available at some point for various reasons.

In this article, I will highlight some of the causes of this update and give possible solutions.

What does USPS tracking unavailable mean?

When tracking your package, you come across various types of updates. For example, you may see “in transit”, “out for delivery”, “no access to delivery location” etc.

Each of these updates sends a particular message to the customer, which is usually the package’s current status. “USPS tracking unavailable” is one update that has stirred up so many questions and complaints.

It usually implies that, for some reason, USPS cannot give you a tracking update on your package. But what exactly does this mean? Does it mean your package won’t be delivered? Keep reading to get your answers.

What causes the USPS tracking to be unavailable?

Numerous reasons may affect the tracking update for a package. Some of these reasons include the following;

1. Your package is not moving yet

Your package may be at a USPS facility that is not designed to handle large packages. During holidays, festive periods, or other irregular periods throughout the year, the number of packages to be delivered surges.

Most USPS facilities aren’t equipped enough to handle these large surges in delivery. In cases like these, either the former update remains when tracking or, as in your case, the tracking update is unavailable.

2. Package lost

Another possible reason could be the result of a damaged or misplaced package. As much as the USPS tries to avoid situations like these, occasionally things go sideways.

A package may fall off the truck, be lost in transit, or even be damaged beyond repair. In instances like these, the tracking update will not be given as there is simply nothing to track.

3. Network or system glitch

This is usually the case the majority of the time. Network or other technical issues may hinder the tracking status from being updated. Most likely, the delivery is proceeding as planned but has yet to be recorded in the system.

4. Incorrect tracking number

Another possible reason could be that you have inserted the wrong tracking number. Even if you miss a single digit, the USPS tracking system cannot assign that tracking number to a particular order.

What can you do about this?

Usually, most of these cases must be resolved from the courier’s end. However, you can still do a few things on your end.

1. Confirm you have written the correct tracking number

As I mentioned, missing a single digit makes a tracking number invalid. Firstly, confirm that you have keyed in that package’s correct tracking number. You can verify the number on;

  • Your receipt for the USPS shipment
  • The USPS confirmation email that was sent to you after the order was made
  • The tracking label’s bottom peel-off section

2. Wait a few days

One of the reasons could be because of a system glitch or other technical issues. You could be worrying, yet your package is already on its way. There’s no harm in waiting a few days to see if the update changes or if your package is delivered.

3. Contact the USPS

After you confirm the tracking number and wait a few days and nothing changes, then you can take further action. Try to contact USPS customer service and enquire about the status of your package.


How long does it say the tracking update is unavailable?

Usually, this update may stay a day or two before it is updated.

How can you confirm your tracking number?

You can confirm your tracking number on the receipt or the confirmation mail sent to you.

How often does the USPS tracking status get updated?

Usually, it varies as the status is updated and scanned at different points. So, tracking updates may come in at any point during delivery.

Should you be worried if your tracking status hasn’t been updated?

Not particularly. However, you may need further action if this update remains for several days.

Can you receive your package even when the tracking status is not available?

Yes, you can. System glitches may cause tracking status not to be updated yet the delivery is still completed.


When a USPS tracking status is unavailable, it doesn’t necessarily imply that your package isn’t going to be delivered. It could be that, for various reasons, the current status of your package is unknown.

In cases like these, simply confirm you have written the correct tracking number. And if you have and this update sticks for days, contacting USPS customer care would be your best move.

I hope you found this article helpful. While tracking your package, you may encounter various frustrating updates. You should see this article on how to cancel a USPS shipment if you need to do so.

Thanks for reading.