If you're used to getting loads of mail and you like to keep track of where it is as it's being delivered, Shiprack is definitely worthy of your consideration and time. Hot on the heels of Phil's review of Slice (okay, not really on the heels of), it's time to see if Shiprack is the less invasive alternative to Slice. (Hint: it is.)

Setting up Shiprack is an absolute breeze. Once you've got it all nice and installed, you have to set up what e-mail account Shiprack will be looking for emails from. Shiprack operates very similarly to Tripit; whenever you receive an email with a tracking number in it, you forward the email off to Shiprack, and they'll automatically start tracking it for you.

This is great (to me), because you can only track purchases that you want​ tracked. Shiprack doesn't automatically search your entire inbox, so if there's anything that isn't really pressing, you can simply omit it. Shiprack also doesn't tally your total expenses on things, so there's that small element of ignorance that can keep your shopping and package-tracking guilt free!

Once you've got a package tracked, you'll be able to see all kinds of cool information, namely your item's tracking number and when it's estimated to be delivered. Shiprack seems to update in near-real time, so you'll have a detailed log of whenever your package hit a new checkpoint.

If you're interested, you can also see a map (on Google Maps, of course), detailing your item's journey, with colorful lines and goofy looking thumb tacks showing each new leg of its journey.

In the settings menu, you can add email aliases that you'd also like to forward tracking information from, so if you get lots of tracking numbers across lots of accounts, Shiprack has you covered. You can also mess with the typical fare like notification tones and vibration options, but something unique to Shiprack is the ability to set quiet times. It's not life-changing, but it's cool to see it there.

Finally, you can pick and choose what updates you'd like Shiprack to notify you of. I'm pretty crazy when it comes to my goods, so I want to see everything, but you've got full control over knowing if your stuff is ready to ship, in transit, or delayed, to name a few.

In the world of package trackers, I think Shiprack really nailed it. What it lacks in visual polish, it more than makes up for in functionality, plus, you've got the freedom to choose what gets tracked. That might not seem like a big deal to some, but in a world where our information is becoming increasingly public, every little bit I can keep my hands on, I like to do just that.

Shiprack is free and ad-supported, but if you'd like to simultaneously support the developer and​ remove the ads, there's an in-app purchase of 99 cents. We've got download links after the break.

 

Reader comments

Shiprack Package Tracker [Android App Review]

16 Comments

So how is this different from Parcels, apart from me having to forward e-mails to a third party that is probably aggregating all sorts of info about me to get Shiprack working?

Our privacy policy at http://www.ship-rack.com/faqs#privacy states that we do not share any personally identifying or private information with any third parties. Any data collected about you through your forwarded emails or through your tracking numbers is used (and will always forever only be used) for the purpose of research and analysis by our engineering team. This helps us improve our product.

Thank you for your feedbac
- Shiprack Customer Support.

What got me to use Shiprack instead of Parcels is because it pushes you the updates instead of pulling at a time interval. Also, you don't have to forward all of the information. Just compose a new email, type the title of the item you want to label the package in the subject, then paste the tracking number in the body. Send it and you're done. Also, I hate how Parcels automatically shows you every single shipping company when trying to insert a tracking number for first time use. It's annoying and more annoying to remove. Granted, I haven't used the newest version and don't know if it's the same still. Shiprack can also auto detect carriers.

Now, this is comparing my initial experience with both apps. Yes, I know you can remove the list of carriers you use and all that in Parcels, but I'm not comparing after setup. I'm comparing ease of use and initial first time use, and Shiprack wins. Of course, it may not be good for international users. Just my opinion.

Joshua says in his video that Parcels had stopped working for him. It's still working for me, but I'm giving Shiprack a shot now. Mainly looking for a solution that will reduce the battery drain of using Parcels with a short refresh interval but will give more timely information than Parcels with a long refresh interval.

Many apologies regarding asking for the contacts permission. Shiprack has a feature where you can share your shipments/packages with other people, by typing their email addresses. We thought it would make peoples lives easier if they didn't have to type in the entire email address of who they sharing shipments with. The access to contacts data allows us to auto-complete email address when you type the first few letters. But in hind-sight, this feature is more invasive than useful, like you rightfully alluded to. And we plan to remove it in a future release, expected soon.

We have now removed the contacts permission. The number of users using the "share a shipment" feature was small enough that the pain of typing in the entire email address of the contact you're sharing a tracking number with, is bearable. Although once you type a contact's email address when you share a tracking number, it is remembered for future use. It appears in a drop-down the next time you try to share a tracking number.

Shiprack automatically pulls the shipping company from the tracking number entered. You never have to manually enter tracking info you just forward the email that the shipper sends you, change the subject to what you want shiprack to call your shipment and forward it. You get changes to the shipment very quickly.

I use it over parcels purely for the fact I dont have to manually enter tracking number or pick through Parcels huge list of shippers when the only things I order mainly come through UPS Fedex and USPS.

In the settings for Parcels, you can deactivate carriers you don't want to see listed -- you can uncheck all the international ones and the less common ones, or even ALL of them except for UPS, FedEx, and USPS.

That said, I hate using it because of the manual entry -- even with copy and paste -- of tracking numbers, so I'm giving Shiprack a try! :)

/Kevin

@ Joshua Munoz Thank you for a flattering review. We'll try our best to take your suggestions into account (lacks visual polish, etc :)). - Shiprack Customer Support.

I've been using Shiprack for a few months now and for me, its biggest advantage over Parcels is simply that it works! I never received notifications from Parcels and found that having to specify the carrier every time (even with most turned off) was a nuisance.

Regarding forwarding tracking emails, yes this is the easiest way to add packages to be tracked, but you can also easily add packages manually just by copying and pasting the number and adding a description if you prefer not to send the whole email. Or, as suggested, you can just edit the email before forwarding to remove anything you don't want.

So far, Shiprack has only failed to recognise one shipping number I've sent it (a very obscure DHLGM number which proved to only be trackable from the Amazon.de website). The devs emailed me within minutes of it failing to track this package and worked hard to try to make it work. By far the most proactive response I've EVER seen...

Update: After nearly 24 hours of using Shiprack to track 3 packages (1 UPS shipped, 1 USPS in transit, and 1 UPS delivered during that period), I've decided to keep Shiprack and have uninstalled Parcels. Big pluses are the ease of adding new packages (no more manually entering a long tracking number on my phone) and the push notifications being easier on the battery than Parcels' polling.

I did notice the problem with Parcels that Joshua mentioned. It never notified me that my UPS package had been delivered even several hours after delivery with a 30 minute polling frequency. I had Shiprack tracking the same package and its notification was much more prompt.

The one suggestion I would give Shiprack is to add a link to the shipper's tracking page when that would provide additional information. In my case, I needed to know who signed for a UPS package. Parcels has a link that will pull that info from UPS' tracking page. Shiprack does not. It's not a deal breaker, but would be nice to have.

Many months later, I am still happy but wish the program could take the "subject" from the fedex package when I create new pacakges. It's impossible to distinguish one from another when I look at them in the program unless I manually rename each one.
Pete