Delivery tracking app loses FedEx access, blames shipping companies

The developer of Deliveries, a package-tracking app listed as an App Store editor’s pick and trusted by some people here at The Verge, has said they’re “no longer able to keep the same service.” due to a lack of support from delivery companies. In an April 5 post written by developer Mike Piontek, the company says that “deliveries depend on many different shipping companies, and without their help, it’s not possible for the app to continue to work as expected.”

The reason for the post seems to be the fact that Deliveries can no longer track FedEx packages. While the app can usually let users track the progress of their package on a map or receive notifications if something changes, the app currently doesn’t display an estimated delivery date, current location, or other information if you enter a FedEx tracking number. Instead, you will be prompted to open FedEx’s package tracking page in your web browser.

With other carriers, you can view tracking history and delivery estimates.

MacRumors also reports that a delivery feature that allows you to paste an Amazon order link to track your package is also no longer working.

Responding to a customer on April 4, Junecloud (the company that makes deliveries) tweeted that FedEx will be removed from the list of supported services, claiming that FedEx “made the decision to block third-party trackers, such as deliveries, from their API.” FedEx’s developer website doesn’t seem to list major changes to the API, though it does suggest that starting March 31, anyone issuing or creating custom notifications for ground economy labels should instead send people to their website.

There are also reports that FedEx is working on adding the ability to track packages from other carriers to its own app, which would make it a competitor to apps like Deliveries.

piontek said in a later tweet that he didn’t know what customers could do to track FedEx packages in Deliveries. Junecloud says you can still add FedEx packages to Deliveries, but you’ll only see tracking information when you go to an online view. According to the services page, this kind of change has happened before with other carriers, such as Royal Mail and Australia Post.

Junecloud sees more changes on the horizon, making it harder for third-party tracking apps

Junecloud’s message predicts that other providers will cut off access to their APIs. The company says that “it’s likely that over time more services in Deliveries will no longer display tracking information directly in the app,” and apologizes that these kinds of changes make the app less useful. Junecloud also says it will do its best to continue to make Deliveries as useful as possible.

like some people have commentedHowever, the post does raise the question of whether this change will come to every delivery app — will all developers have to drop support for FedEx package tracking, and will shipping companies push people to their first party apps? Ivan Pavlov, the developer of parcel tracking app Parcel, told The Verge in an email that some developers may be coping with the changes:

“I believe in the case of FedEx they have limited access to their tracking webpage. It became a problem for Deliveries and they stopped supporting it. FedEx is still supported in Parcel. Of course, there is always a chance that something will change or break in the future.”

However, Pavlov did agree with Junecloud’s post about carriers sometimes being hostile to third-party delivery apps. “Supporting different providers is a challenge and not all of them are equally friendly to third-party developers. There’s no guarantee that any carrier will always be supported in any app, including mine.”

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