Track Your Mail at Your New Home and Old Home After You Move

Learn how to make sure you don't miss any mail at either address.

Peter Butler Writer
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
Expertise 18 years of editorial experience with a current focus on personal finance and moving
Peter Butler
3 min read
A picture of the front of a letter

The free Informed Delivery service from the USPS lets you track incoming mail from your computer or phone.

James Martin/CNET

One of the most annoying things about moving is not knowing exactly when your change of address will go into effect (and all the people who keep sending packages and letters to your old address). Luckily for you, a free tool from the US Postal Service can help you track mail at both your new and old homes.

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Informed Delivery sends you digital previews of your mail before it arrives, letting your know what's coming and when. It's available to almost all residential Postal Service customers.

And it's not only for people who are moving. If you're hoping to thwart porch pirates or simply want alerts for incoming letters and packages, read on to learn how Informed Delivery works and how you can sign up. For more moving tips, learn how to pick the right-sized truck and how to lift heavy boxes and furniture without hurting yourself.

What is USPS Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS. It uses the scans of your incoming letters to provide previews in a daily email and in a personalized online dashboard on USPS.com or its mobile app. The dedicated Informed Delivery mobile apps have been discontinued, but the service works within the official USPS Mobile app on iOS or Android.

When the post office processes mail with its automated sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of every letter-size piece of mail. Users of Informed Delivery get access to that info via notifications when each piece of mail to your address is on the way. 

As part of the program, you'll get an email every morning, Monday through Sunday, with digital previews of your incoming mail. You'll also see a black-and-white image of the front of the envelopes. It's important to note that for those who share an address or mailbox, you'll see all letters to everyone at the address -- there's no way to separate mail by recipient.

Who can and can't use Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery has some limitations. For example, it will work with many residential and personal post office box addresses -- but not businesses. It also won't work for some residential buildings where USPS hasn't yet identified each unit.

How do I sign up for Informed Delivery? 

If you've decided that you want previews of your mail each day, visit the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page. The sign-up process will create an online USPS account if you don't already have one.

1. Click Sign Up for Free.

2. Enter your mailing address to confirm Informed Delivery is available for you. If it is, accept the terms and conditions and click Continue

3. Choose a username, password and security questions. Enter your contact information and click Continue.

4. Now you'll need to verify your identity. You can do it three ways: Select Verify identity online to receive a verification code on your phone. Click Request invitation code by mail if you want USPS to mail you a code. You can also visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

Voila: You're registered for USPS Informed Delivery. It may take up to three days for your account to be activated and for you to start receiving previews of your mail. 

Be aware that signing up means you'll see all mail that's scanned by the post office and heading to your address. You can cancel the service at any time.

Which mail isn't tracked by Informed Delivery?

USPS does not take digital images of catalogs or magazines. If one of those items is arriving, you'll receive a message that says, "A mailpiece for which we do not currently have an image is included in today's mail."

And while you can track the delivery status of your packages and their expected arrival time, the Postal Service doesn't capture images of packages. However, Informed Delivery does let you create an electronic signature for authorizing package delivery when you're not at home.

For more tips, here's how to wash your car without water, how to start a fire with Doritos and how to avoid avocado hand.