Amazon has catered to the privacy-conscious by adding a new blocking feature to its Alexa calling service.

Amazon Alexa calling, introduced by Amazon in May, was criticised by some for not giving users a way to block calls and messages. In other words, anyone could call your Amazon Echo device or Amazon app, and there was nothing you could do about it. Amazon said it would fix the issue in the coming weeks, and now, by mid-June, it has kept good on that promise with an update to the Alexa app.

Here's everything you need to know about how to block calls and messages to your Echo.

What is Amazon Alexa calling?

Amazon offers an Alexa-powered calling service. It's described as a new way to contact friends who also own Echo devices or use the Alexa app on their smartphones. It's completely free, works over Wi-Fi and cellular data, and includes additional features that let you not only place calls but also send voice messages or text messages. You can learn more about how to use the service in Pocket-lint's guide:

How can you block calls and messages?

The Alexa app for iOS has been updated with a new feature that lets you "block contacts from calling and messaging you". The update is only available for the iOS version of the Alexa app, but we imagine the Android version will get it soon, too. To enable the blocking feature, open the Alexa app and go to your contacts list. From there, scroll down and select the person you want to block.

Then all you have to do is tap the new "block contact" button near their name, and you won't receive their calls or messages anymore. This means people will have to be in your contact's list in order for you to block them, but at the same time, they can't even call your Echo or Amazon app unless they know your phone number. Also, don't forget you can temporarily block all messages and calls.

All you have to do is use the Do Not Disturb feature. Just say to Alexa, "Don't disturb me", or schedule Do Not Disturb for specific days and times in the Alexa app (select Settings from the Menu > select your device > under Do Not Disturb, select Scheduled > use the slider to turn on or off Do Not Disturb> select Edit to change the time Do Not Disturb begins or ends > and select Save Changes).

Want to know more?

Check out some of Pocket-lint's other Amazon Echo and Alexa guides: