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Using MonoTouch 5.2.11, I have a test case.
public class WithDefaultCtor
public String GetStatement ()
return "I have no declared ctor!";
Tested with this code:
Type t = typeof(WithDefaultCtor);
System.Console.WriteLine("ctors: " + t.GetConstructors().Length);
In the simulator, as expected, the output is "ctors: 1", representing the default constructor. On the device (iPad), the result is "ctors: 0".
An added note I just remembered that might be relevant: I recently had to turn on "Link all assemblies" in Linker Behavior in the project options. I had to do that because I hit this bug, and it was the recommended fix: https://bugzilla.xamarin.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1102
I'm now convinced that Link all assemblies is to cause for this behavior, which does indeed make some sense. You just can't link all assemblies and rely on some methods only being called by reflection. I found another problem with my project today that was also caused by some needed methods getting stripped out.
Fortunately, I do have steps I can take to fairly easily break some of our assemblies apart, but that may be just a stopgap. I'm wondering if any further progress has been made on that issue; I'll ask in a comment on that bug too.
"Link all" will remove any "unused", from a static analysis point of view, code from every assembly. So yes the behavior is normal if the .ctor is only used for reflection (as this can't be seen by static analysis).
The easiest way (for 5.2.*) to workaround this is to add the [Preserve] attribute on the constructor (or any code that you want the linker to keep even if it *seems* unused).
More information is available on: http://docs.xamarin.com/ios/advanced_topics/linker
MonoTouch 5.3.3+ allows you to use XML files to customize the linker (and avoid adding attributes inside your code). See: http://spouliot.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/linker-versus-customization/