Here’s how you can keep track of your packages this holiday season

Keep track of your holiday packages this year with these apps.

Gene Blythe, Associated Press

Shopping online is an American pastime and the holiday season means consumers go into overdrive. But it’s about to get a little easier to keep track of all the boxes headed to your front porch.

Many shoppers may do so much holiday shopping online that it proves difficult to track all the packages they’ve ordered and when they’ll arrive. Heavy online shoppers may even forget what items they’ve ordered. That scenario can go one of two ways: they may be pleasantly surprised when the package arrives or the item may fail to show up and the buyer would never be the wiser.

There are some easy ways to stay on top of all the online orders coming within the next couple of months and beyond.


Gmail users can take advantage of a new system that may save them time and headaches. In the coming weeks, Gmail will show a simple view of package tracking and delivery information in inboxes. If the order contains a tracking number, the package’s current delivery status will pop up in the inbox list view. So right under the sender’s name and subject line, Gmail users may see a notification such as “arriving Tues, Dec 6” or “label created.” 

And in the coming months, Google says it will make sure an email notifying users of a delayed package goes straight to the top of the inbox. Gmail users will need to opt in to the service and should soon see an option for Gmail to track packages at the top of their inboxes.

For those who don’t use Gmail or who use multiple email addresses to shop, an app will do the trick. Yes, shoppers could download each individual carrier’s app to keep track of shipments and FedEx, UPS and USPS all have them. But to track every package regardless of the carrier, a third party app may be the answer.


Route searches whatever email address is connected for tracking numbers. The app reads only those emails and leaves the rest unseen. Route will send notifications and status updates for all deliveries, even to an Apple Watch and its map feature visually shows where all packages are in transit.

It’s free, but gives an option to add “1-Click Protect” to any delivery for a small fee. Route works with merchants on this feature to guarantee customers are covered in case an order gets lost, damaged or stolen in transit. The app is available in the App Store and the Google Play Store.


Parcel works specifically for iOS and Mac and also allows web access to manage deliveries. The app supports more than 300 carriers around the world and also lets users see the location of packages in transit on a map. If users want to receive push notifications or to track more than three deliveries, it requires a $4.99 per year subscription. Customers can add a Notification Center widget to quickly see deliveries expected that day or the next.


For hard core Apple Pay users, iOS 16 brought the ability to track packages in its Wallet app. As long as users are signed in everywhere with their Apple ID, any purchase made using Apple Pay should show up in the Wallet app.

Tap the box icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to view and track orders purchased with Apple Pay from participating merchants. Users will be able to see order status, arrival time and the ability to directly contact the merchant from the Wallet app. Apple already has partnerships with Shopify and Rout and users can expect additional merchants to adopt this feature as time goes on.


Shoppers may not be aware that Amazon allows real-time delivery progress on some orders, depending on the carrier. Customers can access Amazon Map Tracking by clicking “Track Package” from “Your Orders” or on a shipment confirmation email. A map showing when the driver is getting close pops up on the delivery day.

If a customer signs up for delivery alerts on the Amazon app, it will let them know when the delivery map becomes available. This feature isn’t available if the delivery is headed to a confidential location, such as a gift address.

’Tis the season for online shopping and these tools can help keep all those deliveries manageable and organized.


Here’s how you can keep track of your packages this holiday season