The Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo has been a real hit recently. Amazon even released an Alexa-powered calling service that was linked to the Echo just about a month ago. This gave users a way to place hands-free free calls, send voice messages, or texts to other users with an Echo device or the Alexa app. Amazon’s Alexa calling uses your mobile data or Wi-Fi for its services and incurs no costs from your cellular network.
However, the privacy of this feature was severely criticized when people realized that they did not have the option to block contacts from reaching them. This essentially meant that anyone who had your mobile number and the Alexa mobile app could send you any number of voice messages or text messages and essentially had access to the Amazon Echo speaker in your house or the app.
As this news spread, Amazon promised it would address the issue and offer a solution in the coming weeks and this promise has been kept today. An Amazon spokeswoman said,
Starting today customers will begin to receive an updated Alexa app, which includes the functionality to block contacts
To block specific contacts, open the Alexa app and Select the Conversations icon. From here, select the Contacts icon and then select the contact you no longer want to receive calls and messages from and tap ‘Block’.
This new update still only lets you block people you have in your contact list but then again, it only allows people who have your number to call you. You cannot use Alexa’s web settings to do this, so you will have to use the app.
While it is a longer process for you to turn off all calling and messaging permanently because you have yo call Amazon customer service, there is still the option to temporarily block all messages and calls to your device. All you have to do is say “Do not disturb” to Alexa. Or if you want to do it manually, select Settings, select your device, and tap on “Do not disturb”. Under this, select Scheduled and turn the slider on. Following this, click on Edit and change the time that Do Not Disturb begins and ends and tap Save Changes.
This update seems to have been currently rolled out only on iOS devices with an update for Android hopefully just around the corner.
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