You could try the Ghostscript tools
ps2pdf from the commandline.
The MacTeX way gives you a 3 GB installer that will install by default a ghostscript package & lots of other things like a TeX folder in your
/Applications folder. This may be overkill for you.
The homebrew way
brew install ghostscript or
brew install gs (both do the same thing) installs a much smaller ghostscript package.
Either way you'll end up with the conversion tools.
pdf2ps allows you to specify which PS-level you want your output to be in.
ps2pdf has 4 variants:
From its manpage
- ps2pdf12 will always produce PDF 1.2 output (Acrobat 3-and-later compatible).
- ps2pdf13 will always produce PDF 1.3 output (Acrobat 4-and-later compatible).
- ps2pdf14 will always produce PDF 1.4 output (Acrobat 5-and-later compatible).
- ps2pdf per se currently produces PDF 1.4 output. However, this may change in the future.
There's also a
pstopdf tool installed by Apple that can convert PostScript to pdf. Sometimes the
ps2pdf tools are unsuccessful and the
pstopdf tool works.
My experience is:
Convert pdf's with
pdf2ps and convert the resulting PostScript file to pdf with
pstopdf. This works the best for me without having to fiddle with the various options that these tools offer.
If you want (or need) to play with these options there is a lot of documentation & you can ask questions on tex.stackexchange.com