Rutile TiO2 is a heavily investigated oxide with, to date, scarce applications in industrial catalysis. The inactivity of this material in oxidations has been related to its inability to dissociate molecular oxygen. Herein we show how rutile catalyzes the oxidation of HBr to Br2 through defect states that are introduced during the reaction. The identification of active, stable, and abundant materials for bromine production is key to the future implementation of Br2-mediated alkane functionalization processes. The catalytic properties of TiO2 are discussed in comparison to expensive rutile-type oxides, such as RuO2 and IrO2, on the basis of surface characterization and molecular modeling.