Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use contexts of personal computing devices in multiple steps and conducts an in- depth analysis for the use context of smartphones. The determinants of use context changes of smartphones are investigated using the technology- to- performance chain model. Design/methodology/approach - In steps 1 and 2, a diary study method and 2014-2015 Korea media panel research data provided by the Korea Information Society Development Institute are used. Correspondence analysis, chi(2) independence tests, and standardized residual analyses were conducted. In step 3, this study develops and validates a framework for use context changes using a survey method and structural equation modeling. Findings - The results show that the use context of personal computing devices is represented differently and is clearly defined depending on the device used. Furthermore, the use context of smartphones has changed significantly because of the rapid growth of smartphone users and diverse usage patterns of smartphones. The research model results show that users expand the scope and frequency of smartphone use when they experience improved performance in everyday tasks and feel that smartphone content and functions could support everyday tasks better. Originality/value - This study presents novel early stage research and presents empirical evidence and propositions in both exploratory and confirmatory ways. The main contribution of this study is to provide guidelines and general implications for other empirical studies on the use contexts of devices or information technology services.