USPS Mobile iPhone app can help find your friendly neighborhood post office

Jan 6, 2010
Finance

Your New Year’s resolution to write more letters doesn’t have to fall by the wayside in 2010 now that the U.S. Postal Service has launched its iPhone app USPS Mobile (free). Users have to be online at all times to use USPS Mobile, but the iPhone app loads quickly. The primary feature is its location finder, which […]

Your New Year’s resolution to write more letters doesn’t have to fall by the wayside in 2010 now that the U.S. Postal Service has launched its iPhone app USPS Mobile (free).

Users have to be online at all times to use USPS Mobile, but the iPhone app loads quickly. The primary feature is its location finder, which displays nearby postal stations, blue mailboxes and automated postal centers. Results are displayed on a map, which I love, especially for less populated areas where there’s not a mailbox every few blocks. However, don’t take the displayed location as gospel. The iPhone app gets the actual address and general areas right, but often indicates that a mailbox is in the center of a block of houses rather than on the corner. In the case of the mailbox across the street from my apartment, the iPhone app can’t seem to decide if it wants to indicate the location via the mailbox icon or the icon arrow’s tip. For all locations, USPS Mobile indicates hours, collection times and available services.

USPS Mobile also includes a zip code finder, which will display “plus-4” zip codes when searched by address. You can also check what zip codes fall within a city and vice versa. Once you’ve looked up an address, you can add it directly to your iPhone address book.

The iPhone app currently lacks any information regarding postal rates, and I would think a postal rate calculator would be useful, especially for eBay shippers and small businesses. There is, however, a built-in package tracker, which stores tracking numbers and refreshes upon the iPhone app’s launch.

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For future updates, USPS Mobile’s developers should consider giving users the ability to change addresses or temporarily place a hold on their mail.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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