I have noticed that ever since Xamarin.iOS 9.x any plist that is contained within the app bundle is automatically converted to a binary format when the app is deployed. I use a native library that relies on the plists to be plain-text/xml and parsing it as binary is currently not an option. I have not observed this on previous (8.x) releases of Xamarin.iOS.
Xcode's build settings allow for adjustment on how to treat plists when packaging under 'Build Settings' > 'Packaging'. There you can set 'Property List Output Encoding' and 'Convert Copied Files'
Is there any way to set these properties in Xamarin as well?