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Track your USPS mail and packages right to your door. It's easy and free

Wondering about when your letters and package will arrive from the post office? A USPS tracking tool can take the guesswork out of deliveries.

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Know when important -- and not important -- mail is about to arrive.

Angela Lang/CNET

Worried about the US Postal Service slowdown and when you'll receive your mail from the post office? If you want to keep tabs on letters and package you're expecting, the USPS has a tracking tool that can help you moniitor the delivery of your mail.

Called Informed Delivery, the free USPS service can give you a heads-up when to expect your mail and even send you an image of the front of letters so you know what's coming -- say, if you're looking for your next child tax credit payment or still waiting for a tax refund.

Here's how to set up and use the USPS tracking tool. For more, here's what we know about the postal service's delivery delays and temporary rate increase for parcel delivery, and here's how to tell the USPS you've moved.

USPS Informed Delivery: Track your mail straight to your mailbox

Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your letters and can send you with an image each time a letter with your name on it is about to be delivered.

When the USPS runs mailed letters through its automated mail-sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can benefit from that information by asking USPS to notify you when each piece of mail bearing your name is on the way. Note that it can take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you'll receive an email every morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you about mail being delivered to you. You'll also see a grayscale image of the letter's front. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iOS, too. 

Just be aware that signing up means you'll see all mail that's scanned by the post office. You can cancel the service at any time. Read on for details on how to sign up for Informed Delivery.

Track your packages from the post office, too

With Informed Delivery, you can check the delivery status of your packages and when they're scheduled to arrive. The post office doesn't capture an image of your package, however. You can use the service to create an electronic signature so you can receive packages when you're not at home.

USPS Informed Delivery: How to sign up

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. 

To check whether Informed Delivery is available in your area, head to the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page.

1. Tap Sign Up for Free.

2. Enter your mailing address and confirm that it'll work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue

3. On the next page, choose a username, password and security questions. Enter your contact information and tap Continue.

4. On the next page, you'll need to verify your identity. Tap Verify identity online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or tap Request invitation code by mail if you want the USPS to mail you a code. You may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

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