Mozart added the work to his catalogue on June 26, 1788, the same date as his Symphony No. 39. The exact circumstances of the work's composition are not known, however.
The work is in three movements:
Although the piece is very well known today, it was not published in Mozart's lifetime, first appearing in print in 1805. In Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes animation, the opening bars of the sonata are associated with the character Granny from Tweety and Sylvester cartoons.