The importance of many-body dispersion effects in layered materials subjected to high external loads is evaluated. State-of-the-art many-body dispersion density functional theory calculations performed for graphite, hexagonal boron nitride, and their heterostructures were used to fit the parameters of a classical registry-dependent interlayer potential. Using the latter, we performed extensive equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations and studied the mechanical response of homogeneous and heterogeneous bulk models under hydrostatic pressures up to 30 GPa. Comparison with experimental data demonstrates that the reliability of the many-body dispersion model extends deep into the subequilibrium regime. Friction simulations demonstrate the importance of many-body dispersion effects for the accurate description of the tribological properties of layered material interfaces under high pressure.