Need to track a parcel? There’s an app for that…

By | November 28, 2022
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At this time of year, I tend to order a lot more things online – it’s the combination of needing to buy gifts, and not wanting to be traipsing around the shops in bad weather.  This year, I’ve been a bit more nervous about my parcels arriving in time because of the postal strikes. 

Delivery companies usually have a system where you can “track your parcel” – each package gets a code when it’s posted out, and if you’re told this code you can look it up online to see where your parcel’s up to on its journey to your front door.  So if you want to go out for the day but don’t want to miss the postie with your important delivery, you can look up the code online to check if it’s on the van already or still being sorted at the depot.

I was expecting a parcel from the Royal Mail last week, but every time I went to their tracking web page I got a “Service temporarily unavailable” message. It might be up and running again by the time you read this, but I thought it was worth sharing with you how I got around it to track my parcel.  

Most delivery companies have their own apps that you can install on your smartphone or tablet (if you have one) and the Royal Mail is no exception. To get the Royal Mail app, open the Google Play Store from your Android phone or tablet, or the App Store from your iPad or iPhone, and type “Royal Mail” into the search. One of the top results should be a free app called “Royal Mail” with the Royal Mail logo which mentions tracking deliveries somewhere in the blurb.  Tap “Install” or “Get”, and follow the instructions on your screen.

The first time you open the app, you’ll have to accept some cookies (the techie kind, not the sugary kind unfortunately!) and tap through some welcome screens.  You’ll then get an option to “Log in” if you have a Royal Mail account, but you can just tap “Continue without logging in” to track a parcel. (You only need to create a free account if you want to track more than five parcels a day.) On the next screen, tap “Track an item”, enter your code in the box and tap “Track”. Or, if you’ve been sent the parcel’s barcode, tap the camera symbol in the box instead and the app will let you scan the barcode with your device’s camera. This is really handy if you struggle to read or type long strings of numbers and letters. Then you should get a message telling you where your parcel is.

So if you’re having trouble with important websites being out of action, it’s always worth checking if they have an app you can use instead which might be working fine.

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