Manage Your Mail This Winter with the USPS Mobile App

Well everyone, the holiday season is coming up fast for many of us, and the holidays often translates to travel nowadays, so it's probably almost time to deal with the trouble of postage for shipping gifts and having your mail held while you're away from home.  That last part is what some people,(probably more than you might think actually)forget to do, and the United States Postal Service is here to help with their mobile app. Note, for extremely obvious reasons, this app only really pertains to those within the United States, so sorry if you're from elsewhere; see you folks at a later date.  Now, the app is a little dated in its Android interface, especially if you look into the Play Store page and see the screenshots.  They contain the status bar iconography from android 2.3 Gingerbread, while the iOS version has a shiny new coat of paint on it for the company's Apple-based users.  Regardless of what that means, how clumsy it is to not keep the design unified, or whichever rude OS-based insult you wish to make, the app still works just as it needs to: to let you monitor and manage your mail.

Now, the app is fairly basic, including the generic set of features for most postal services' apps.  It's got a facility locator, a ZIP code finder (based on address, by city, or checking what cities use a ZIP code), a price calculator for your packaging and shipping needs, a tracking features, an at-location pick-up option and form to fill out, a portal of the USPS's shipping supplies store of Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, a barcode scanner, a coupon section, and finally a mail holding option.  The last one is important for the holidays, but the app itself is useful anyone that ships anything, from books and snacks for a hungry university student to the old used phone that your sister needs to use after toilet-bowling her own last week.  If you use USPS to deliver your daily post, however, you get some extra bonuses, namely what features of the app you can use.

Obviously, if you ship something with USPS, you can manage it through the app, but what if you get your daily income of letters, advertisements, and bills through USPS?  Well, you can use the app to have USPS hold your mail, even while on the road to somewhere-you-won't-have-service, Colorado or don't-trust-having-technology-around-her-parents, Virginia, and especially out of the country.  To put a hold on your mail, go into the app, select the 'Hold Mail' option, fill out the form, select the date range you'd like the mail held (anywhere between three and thirty days), then select how you'd like to get your mail once the hold is over, which lets you either have it all delivered in a chunky stack or go pick it up locally at a post office branch. Which mail feature do you use most during the holidays that you don't find yourself using most other times of the year?  Do you hope that USPS jumps on the Material Design train, or do you think that, realistically, the app probably will stay this way until the next Nexus next year?  Do you usually use your postal service's app to manage your mailings, or do you use some third-party app to do the necessary tasks sometimes better?  Let us know down below.

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About the Author

Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.