iOS: We all get a lot of stuff in the mail these days. While you can sign up for all kinds of package-tracking services from the major shipping carriers, including individual tracking updates if you only care about an occasional package that’s on the way, I find it easiest to use an app like Arrive to keep track of all my parcels in one place.
Arrive’s premise is pretty simple. Download the app to your iPhone or iPad, fire it up, and it’ll ask to connect to your primary Gmail account. Yes, Arrive scans your incoming emails, but not to learn your secrets—rather, it’s looking for the tracking numbers on your digital receipts.
Just to get this out of the way nice and early, the app, developed by Shopify, has this to say about privacy and data-sharing:
“Arrive respects the privacy of your personal data. We do not sell your personal information, and only provide limited and redacted information to third parties (such as our cloud storage providers) who help us provide you with the Arrive app.”
If you don’t want to give another app access to your email, and that’s understandable, then you’ll have to use a different service and enter in your tracking numbers manually. It’s more secure, but a lot less convenient.
Once you’ve connected a Gmail account—yes, only Gmail for right now, but you can connect more than one account if you have one—the app gets to work. It’ll pull up any and all tracking numbers it can find, and it will automatically assign anything you’ve already received to a “past deliveries” section. A package that’s on the way will automatically show up with a map indicating its current location, and you can tap the delivery’s “card” to learn more about its status.
Arrive can send your device a notification every time there’s a shipping update for anything you’ve ordered. Unfortunately, you can’t customize these updates—for example, only having the appbother you when a carrier drops a package at your doorstep. It’s all or nothing (for now).
If a particular shipment doesn’t show up in Arrive for any reason, you can add it manually or forward the shipping email to firstname.lastname@example.org to give the service another crack at importing any tracking numbers.
Do you have an iOS or Android app that you absolutely love? Leave a note in the comments or shoot me an email: email@example.com.